Chef Diego Coll Benegas represents the perfect intersection between cuisine and fine wine. Coll Benegas’ familiarity with wine derives from time spent working at a family winery, where he developed a first-hand appreciation for the singular attributes of Argentine terroir and an insider’s understanding of what makes a truly great wine. Argentine grape varieties hold a special place for Coll Benegas: “Malbec, Bonarda and Torrontes have always been key ingredients in my dishes. They are the basic tool with which to explain our terroir and our national cuisine.”
After a formal education at one of Argentina’s leading culinary schools, Coll Benegas traveled to California to pursue further studies at the New School of Cooking. He subsequently went on to work with noted American chefs Josiah Citrin at Melisse, and Joe Miller at Joe’s Restaurant in Los Angeles.
Coll Benegas returned home to Argentina in 2003 with a keen sense of international cuisines from which he synthesizes signature recipes, such as Patagonian lamb confit with smoked Andean potatoes and Chimichurri sauce; marinated trout escabeche with avocado purée and baby greens, and Dulce de Leche crème brulée. In 2004, Coll Benegas established the Institute of Gastronomy in Mendoza, based on a culinary philosophy rooted in Argentine cuisine, selectively combined with elements drawn from other culinary traditions. Working with chefs from the area, Coll Benegas encourages them to match their dishes to local wines, capitalizing on the natural affinity between the Argentine varietals and local ingredients.
In 2006 Coll Benegas partnered with Trivento, one of Mendoza’s leading wine estates, in a consulting capacity as Executive Winery Chef, matching Trivento wines with his unique brand of Argentine cuisine. Sent by Trivento as a brand ambassador to Asia, he worked with the Hotel Shangri-La in the Philippines, the Taipei Landis Hotel in Taiwan, and several top restaurants in Hong Kong and Malaysia, helping to introduce Trivento’s Reserve wines to new markets. His experiences in the Far East helped hone his palate still further, as he in turn introduced those populations to the enticing flavors of Argentina and above all, to its fine wines.
With an intimate knowledge of food and wine developed during the course of his career, Chef Coll Benegas is now bringing his expertise to an American audience, as he travels throughout the United States. During his travels, Coll Benegas will showcase the Trivento wines in a series of inspired pairings with his own carefully crafted recipes, while students can look forward to receiving an education in Argentine culture and gastronomy rarely available outside South America.