The Race to get the Michelin Guide’s Prize is on and Restaurants in Latin America are All for It
Back in 2014 Fine Dining Lovers reported that Michelin Guide will expand to Latin America and that it was mainly due to cities like Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro that attracted their attention. That’s according to Michael Ellis, director of the famous tire company. They have setup a local office not long after the announcement and by 2015 started giving out 1 and 2 Michelin stars to several restaurants in Brazil. If any restaurant in Latin America will get a 3-star award from them, then that restaurant will be truly lucky indeed! However, that remains to be seen as we haven’t got any update from Michelin or any restaurant in Brazilian cities yet, maybe in 5 – 10 years time that might happen.
We were able to find which restaurants in Latin America that got Michelin stars and found out how and why they got them, as well as the chef’s and restaurateur’s reaction to the award.
The Brazilian chef, Rodrigo Olivera, has turned his family-run diner into something larger than life and produced one of the best restaurants in Latin America! And the reason for their well-deserved Michelin star is because they serve traditional Brazilian food in the vibrant atmosphere of a no-reservations village bar. It also makes them unique as a specialty restaurant. Michelin Guide has this to say about Mocoto’:
“High quality cooking, worth a stop!”
Oiveira responded to an interview after receiving the most coveted Michelin star by saying, “The globalized world is looking for new food…We have a rich and diverse biome, a culinary and cultural wealth still unknown to our own people.” He also reiterates that chefs need to be grounded with simple traditional recipes and ingredients in order to stand out from other restaurants and more importantly, give the customers the best gastronomic experience they’ve ever had in their lives. Chef Oliveira has won more than 15 awards in his career as a chef including Best New Chef 2008, Chef of the Year 2011 and One of the 5 Most Influential Young Chefs. This is the kind of talent and passion for the culinary arts that creates legends.
Brazil Spearheaded the Sentiment among Restaurants to Attract Tourists to Traditional Cuisines which Brought about the Best Restaurants in Latin America
Tête à Tête
Tête à Tête serves Brazilian cuisine with Spanish and French influences. A lot of customers both on Yelp and TripAdvisor says that this restaurant provides really good service and make the customers feel welcomed and comfortable. Most of the reviews were rated as “excellent” and “very good” by obviously satisfied customers. Also it is said that they have so much variety on the menu and the second floor seating conveys a certain ambiance that is perfect for almost any mood and occasion. Michelin Guide also gave this restaurant 1 star rating for excellence, and they noted that it was the partnership between Gabriel Matteuzzi and Guilherme Vinha and their exploratitative cooking expertise that contributed much to the restaurant’s appeal and reputation.
In an interview with GQ Magazine Gabriel Matteuzzi and Guilherme Vinha responded to the question about how they felt about receiving the Michelin star by saying, “The more you surround yourself with people that are better than you, the better you become.”
Their menu includes tasting, appetizer, main dishes and desserts. The best foods from their selection that I would recommend are foie grass terrine, ceviche de peixe, fish in brasa, fettucine, steak with potato and baseball boy bouquet. Tête à Tête is one of kind from among the culturally rich restaurants in Latin America.
World class chef, Alex Atala never did provided the meaning to his restaurant’s acronym D.O.M.; however, since he’s Latin American, we’ve guessed it to be Deo Optimo Maximo (Latin) which means, “to the greatest and best god”, or “to God, most good, most great.” But that is not the reason why his restaurant is featured in this article, no, because D.O.M. is the only restaurant in Latin America to get 2 stars from Michelin Guide, which is far beyond impressive to say the least! In fact, in Michelin’s own words describe Chef Alex and his restaurant as:
“D.O.M. is Alex Atala, and Alex Atala is the best exponent of so-called new Brazilian cuisine.”
Chef Alex Atala also commented on the question from the interviewer of The Gourmet Journal, Manu Balanzino, for which he asked the famous chef “If you had to highlight a key moment in DOM, what would it be?” (referring to the 2-stars he got from Michelin and his other achievements) and Alex told him that, “It is impossible to talk about marking dishes and not talk about one of the latest creations of mine that inspired chefs worldwide such as throwing ants over a pineapple.”
D.O.M. ranked 4th in the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants and this permanently secured Atala’s place in history as the world’s most influential chef. Having earned that reputation one can only expect Chef Alex to be eccentric in nature and will almost always create new dishes as his preference. So if you ever dined in D.O.M., then you may get served with cuisines like the pão de queijo which is a Brazilian cheese bun, herbed sour cream and potato and smoked garlic puree, grilled manioc (cassava cake), chilled scallop with coconut milk and Brazil nut and more. Chef Alex’s background includes being a former punk DJ, part-historian, part-botanist and a television show host on a Brazilian TV channel GNT. Once you got a taste of his cooking, then you will understand why D.O.M. is one of the best – if not THE best – restaurants in Latin America.