At the tender age of 14, Diego Jacquet’s dreams of becoming a football player came to a drastic halt. It was as normal as any day on the training field when a foreign object managed to find it’s way directly into Jacquet’s left eye, shredding his optic nerve beyond repair. Not only did this result in losing sight in one eye, it also meant staying off the field for the rest of his life.
But after taking his chances at the culinary scene in 1993, Jacquet emerged successful in the professional kitchen. Today the Argentine thrives as Chef Patron two highly successful restaurants in London and Singapore.
This Sunday, while on his way to a farm in the English countryside, we get up close and personal with Chef Diego Jacquet.
I’m the chef/owner of two restaurants, one in London and the other in Singapore.
Before cooking became a passion, my dream was always to be a professional footballer. And I did pretty well – until I was 14 and had a accident. I lost 80% of my left eye vision, then obviously … no more football or any sports for that matter for me. I did play again 5 years later.
My father is a jazz & blues fan, therefore I grew up listening to Miles Davies, Charlie Parker, Frank Zappa, Stan Getz. This inspired me to go into radio with my own show and DJ’ing on local (Argentinian) radio for few years.
I always became very passionate about painting & sculpting with a blind teacher and that time learning, was awesome!
As we say, it needs to be “a place people would love to work & punters would love to eat!”
March 1993, I entered a professional kitchen for the first time, and I literally fell in love with the dynamics, pressure, order, demand & vibes; it was like feeling alive again. I had found my meaning in life.
Was in Buenos Aires, a restaurant called Patagonia by celebrity chef Francis Mallmann.
I knew right there and then that I wanted to be a chef for the rest of my life.
Being blind in one eye was very difficult in a professional kitchen; precision and movement is a must. The process of running a kitchen and its service is like a ballet performance – if you are blind in one eye, you get pushed, burned, hit, punched, etc.
As I rose up through the ranks, the more pressure I felt. When I as New York City in 2001, I found it to be the most difficult as the kitchens there are quite dynamics & fast paced.
But I always took it on as a challenge, never complained and never used (my one blind eye) it on my benefit. In fact, I hadn’t even mentioned it for few years as I didn’t want people to take me or see me in a different way.
Nothing is impossible & you need to fight for your dreams. It won’t be easy but if you put your mind & heart you will get there.
I want to share ARGENTINA with the world – that’s my motivation.
I want the next generation of Argentine chefs to be better, to work harder, to keep achieving things but most importantly I would like my son & daughter to be proud of me … that’s all.
Follow Diego on Instagram HERE.
boCHINche fans click HERE.