What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I grew up in Porto, a beautiful city in the north of Portugal and my background is in Arts and Architecture and more than 10 years working in decoration and antiques. I worked as creative director for European companies with a global presence, but over the years acquired a strong desire to become a chef and learn more about the hotel business. So at 28 years old I decided to change my professional life.
I went to the best hotel school in Portugal and I studied a degree in culinary arts and kitchen management with École Hôtelière de Lausanne, certification.
I have worked with famous chefs at top hotels in Portugal, including the Campo Real, Portugal’s award-winning luxury conference hotel near Lisbon.
I always had a goal to come to Asia to work and live, then I fell in love with someone already based here, so the main reason I came to Asia was love and then I started working at Andara Resort & Villas in Phuket. It all happened between the years 2012 and 2013.
In November 2014 I was considered one of the six best chefs of Phuket Island and was part of a gala dinner at Paresa hotel where five internationally renowned chefs were distinguished as well.
I was distinguished in September 2015 by La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs with certification for the excellence of services provided to the brotherhood by the Association Mondiale de la Gastronomy in my last project in Phuket, The Palm Seafood Restaurant – a World Luxury Restaurant Awards Nominee 2016.
So I can say that my life has been a wonderful and exciting journey and it fills me with pride and joy!
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
I cannot tell … I work for very famous people and never could cast doubt upon the trust that has given to me. If any of them read this interview they would know that would be about them. But as I said before … I’ve had a very interesting life. (smile)
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
When a guest asks for the recipe of something created by us it’s an amazing feeling but then… the same guest sending an email saying that I gave to them the wrong recipe since I’m a bad boy and I don’t want to share my precious secrets… What can I say… “Next time Google it!” (smile)
What’s your favorite meal?
“Francesinha” is a typical and original dish of Porto, in Portugal, my home town.
The Francesinha has the form of a sandwich and comprises sausage, fresh sausage, ham, cold meats and beef steak or, alternatively, roast pork loin and sliced, then covered with melted cheese. It is garnished with a tomato-based sauce, beer and piri-piri. This is the ultimate sandwich and it’s a very good and old secret from all the Portuguese chefs.
Apart from this Portuguese brute delicacy, I share that I am fascinated by Japanese food.
I have so much respect that I prefer to not dare to cook it… I leave it for those who know what they are doing like chef Nobu Matsuhisa. He sets a high standard for me and leaves me in delight with sensations.
What’s your perfect day off or what do you do for fun?
Seeking antiques, travel and spending time with friends. I love to cook for my friends. There is nothing else more amusing than life itself.
A day in the life of a chef is…
Busy and exciting… wait… exciting and busy. (smile)
What’s your view on the Sri Lankan food scene?
Colombo has the very best to offer in every single food ethnic, both entry level and high end.
In the south you can find the gastronomic charm of tradition, this is the land of curries and the sea food… much will happen soon in the new old Ceylon.
What’s your favorite meal/ drink from any restaurant around the world?
Naoki at Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand is my favourite restaurant.
They open from November to April. This amazing team works and researches for six months of the year, testing the traditional Japanese fare and fusing local ingredients with produce imported from Japan to create a menu for guests to dine on for the other six months.
It also seems to me that the world’s best whiskey sour is served at the bar of this hotel … my favorite drink and it’s my reference for all to come.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
The Portuguese colonized Sri Lanka in 1505. The epoch was known as “The early modern period of Sri Lanka” and it all began with the arrival of a Portuguese soldier and explorer Lourenço de Almeida. I’ll be bold and say I’m going to make new references in bringing Portuguese Atlantic and Mediterranean flavors to the country.