Iconic chef reinvents Brazilian cuisine using jewels of the Amazon
Something of a rock star in Brazil, Alex Atala has amassed more than 200,000 Instagram followers – as much fans of his food pics as of his tattoos, his dogs and his frequent trips to the Amazon in search of new ingredients. It is on these trips that the DJ-turned-chef gains inspiration and fuel for his main objective: to reshape Brazilian food using the country’s rich natural resources, while respecting the environment and working with local producers and indigenous communities.
Atala is visibly passionate when talking about the Amazon and his most recent findings, urging diners at D.O.M. to sample each ingredient so that he can share his discoveries. His favourites include jambu, a tongue-tingling herb that he also sells in a potent cachaça, and priprioca, a root previously used only in cosmetics and developed into a foodstuff after his team’s meticulous research. Such produce forms the centrepiece of a pared back à la carte list as well as four- or eight-course tasting menus.
D.O.M.’s dining room is formal yet relaxed, intimate yet open. One of the most expensive restaurants in São Paulo, its prices reflect the cost of transporting ingredients from the most remote parts of Brazil. But just down the road is Dalva e Dito, Atala’s second, more informal and lower-priced restaurant with a broader menu.
Images: Studio SC