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Spanish chef Nieves Barragán Mohacho was born in the city of Bilbao, which is part of the Basque Country. From an early age she took an interest in food, because her mother would involve her in the preparation of meals, and by the age of seven she was able to cook meals by herself.
However, Barragán Mohacho’s career really began to take off in 2003, when she moved to London to act as sous chef at a subettarean Spanish restaurant called Fino in Fitzoriva (which officially closed in 2015). Barragán Mohacho spent four years at the restaurant, graduating to head chef during her time there.
In 2008, owners The Hart Brothers decided to add another tapas restaurant to their portfolio called Barrafina, which would go on to become one of London’s most popular tapas joints, with four sites still operating today in the capital. Barragán Mohacho was appointed head chef of Barrafina (while still being head chef of Fino) and the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in the 2013 edition of the famous restaurant guidebook.
At the end of February 2017, Barragán Mohacho parted ways with Barrafina to realise her dream of opening her own restaurant. The chef aspired to serving a Spanish menu that went beyond just tapas and held a one-night-only preview of the menu as part of the annual London Restaurant Week in 2017.
Barragán Mohacho’s fame from her time spent at Barrafina served her well, as her debut restaurant was financially backed by the Sethi Family who form JKS Restaurants, which is home to various London success stories such as Gymkhana, Trishna, Brigadiers and Bao. In October 2017, Sabor opened its doors, taking up residency on Heddon Street in Mayfair. The space operates almost as a double restaurant, with the ground floor been home to a casual tapas bar and the first-floor dining room being a more formal space serving more substantial dishes.
When she’s not busy running kitchens, Barragán Mohacho has found the time to pen two cookbooks, the first filled with recipes from her time at Barrafina and the second inspired by the food she serves at Sabor.
Click here to read more about Nieves Barragán in our Ayala SquareMeal Best Female Chefs Series.