Semana Mesa Sao Paulo, the largest and most exciting gastronomy congress in South America, took place at the end of October. The theme was very special indeed – to open a worldwide discussion about sustainability issues, and to persuade chefs around the globe to sign a document of social, ecological and ethical responsibility. Many of the 50 Best chefs already support this project, including René Redzepi, David Chang, Massimo Bottura, and many others.
Massimo Bottura at Semana Mesa SP/ Mesa Tendencias 2010 in Brazil
International chefs came to the event organised by the leading Brazilian gourmet magazine Prazeres da Mesa and SENAC ( institute for learning skills), to present their sustainable projects, and to exchange ideas about the role of the chef in helping to save the planet.
A charity dinner was hosted by Alex Atala at his restaurant, Dalva e Dito. The international guest chefs cooking at the dinner were: Heinz Beck, Shane Osborn, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Nuno Mendes, Ben Roche, Atul Kochhar, Marcello Tully, and Marcus Wareing. Each of them prepared their signature dishes, sharing the kitchen with Atala, in a unforgettable evening.
Jantar da Terra - Charity dinner at Alex Atala's Restaurant 'Dalva e Dito'
Alex Atala and the 'Viajantes'
In the days following the event, Atala invited his colleagues to dine at his restaurant, D.O.M., introducing them to the previously unknown delicacies of the Amazon, to the flavours of the Brazilian countryside, to spices and colourful peppers, and to unusual textures of exquisite native produce which he has been using in his new menu.
He also explained to the chefs how he has established close communication with farmers and native communities in past years, which he believes will result in a sustainable New Brazilian Cuisine.
The chefs had the opportunity to experience a menu, prepared personally by the chef and his team.
D.O.M. is not only the most accomplished restaurant in Brazil, but also a symbol of a new phase in the country's gastronomy. It has opened doors for new talented Brazilian professionals, many of whom are stars in their own right, and introduced the flavours of the New Brazilian Cuisine to the world.
Above all, the work of Alex Atala brought native ingredients to Brazilian Haute cuisine, improved the availability of sustainable products in the markets around the country, and showed Brazilians that they could be proud of their own culinary heritage.
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Photos: Press Images D.O.M., Prazeres da Mesa and Luciana Bianchi
Luciana Bianchiis chef de cuisine and food writer, works as International Editor correspondent for the Brazilian gourmet magazine, Prazeres da Mesa, and contributes to several publications in Brazil and Europe.
on Twitter http://twitter.com/LucianaBianchi
Luciana Bianchi is an Italian–Brazilian journalist, book author and trained chef with a background in Molecular Science. A frequent traveller and food researcher with more than 20 years experience in the field, she has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants, cooked for celebrities, interviewed most of the best international chefs, and has published work in 12 countries. Luciana is a member of the Guild of Food Writers UK, a writer of the Identità Golose Food Guide, and one of the authors of APICIUS. www.twitter.com/lucianabianchi | www.instagram.com/lucianabianchi