The Archetype behind the brand: the freedom of Francis Mallmann
Credit: Romina Santarelli / Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación
“All those things made me dream that there was a very free world somewhere. So my big draw in life, since very young, was freedom; the freedom of believing only in myself and not letting myself be led by anybody. I wanted to be my own, I wanted to do whatever I wanted.” - Francis Mallmann.
So begins episode three of the Netflix series, Chef’s Table, featuring Argentinian master chef and open fire grilling aficionado, Francis Mallmann: with a colourful tale of how he was inspired at age nine by a ride in an incredible car with a mysterious man and two beautiful french women to pursue freedom above all else.
And what does Mallmann’s anecdote have to do with branding? As part of our series on Chef’s Table, we’re doing a deeper dive into the celebrity chefs to see which brand archetypes they align with. In doing so, we aim to serve up insights into how defining your brand in terms of an archetype - something Bang helps our clients to do - creates greater meaning and connection for customers.
Mallmann is a strong example of this. In essence, what he cooks is simple - grilled meats and vegetables on an open fire. But combine this with what he represents and what he offers becomes far more compelling, even mythical.
It’s something the chef acknowledges. “I’m about cooking that sends this message of a way of living. I’m always cooking in the wild with fires. So my message is get out of your chair, your sofa, your office - and go out!”
The Explorer and The Lover
This story Mallman tells at the start of his episode is a very appropriate introduction to his life and philosophy. It’s a big part of why the Bang team has picked him to be a perfect example of both The Lover and The Explorer brand archetype.
Like the Explorer, Mallmann is driven by a desire to seek freedom and self-exploration through experiencing the world. He aims to be true to his soul - even to the point of selfishness (a typical Explorer weakness). This makes him a fairly controversial character, but a strong and memorable one, nonetheless. His pursuit of freedom is clear in how he decided to turn against the culinary establishment, after winning at a young age their highest praise for his Haute-French cuisine. Encouraging others to pursue freedom for themselves is another Explorer trait and something his daughters credit him for inspiring within them.
So what makes Mallmann a Lover archetype? His language, for one. “Once you understand how she is, you start to love her,” says Mallmann of Patagonia, his . “When you build a fire, it is a bit like making love… it can be huge and strong, or it could be small with ashes and little coals,” he adds of his fire-making, an intrinsic part of his Patagonian barbecue cooking for which he is now renowned.
Like a Lover archetype, Mallmann expresses a high sense of enjoyment of sensual and sensory experiences. Food, for Mallmann, is a romantic, visual endeavour. “You know you’re in a place that’s been orchestrated with a sensual eye,” says food critic, Peter Kaminsky of experiencing a Mallmann meal. Creating relationships - whether with the eclectic teams he develops at his restaurants, or his array of romantic partners, is a Lover trait that Mallman excels in.
More than food
Which is to say: It’s about more than the food. As one young photographer says of Mallmann on her website: “I was not only in awe of this South American chef’s way of cooking outdoors over fire but his philosophy on life, love, and happiness.”
What do you think? Join the conversation by sharing and commenting.
Up next week: Japanese-American, Niki Nakayama, queen of modern Kaiseki cuisine, and featured chef in episode 4 of Chef’s Table.
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