“Imagine having a simple but delicious dish of lime marinated grilled shrimp. Now imagine how heightened the experience of that is when it’s on a beach, with the warm sun and the sound of waves and the mingling smells of salty air, flowers, and fragrant fruit. It brings it to another level. It makes the lime more tangy, and the shrimp more succulent to me, because your senses become more alive. Food should be about the experience as a whole; the environment in which you eat is just as important as the food itself. It also helps that the limes are so juicy and fresh here, and the shrimp are right off the boat.
“I’ve always been passionate about ingredients, and in particular how to pair them in new and interesting ways. My career began as a dishwasher, and I worked myself up to cooking. Along the way I made sure I asked a ton of questions about what the other chefs were doing and why they were pairing the ingredients the way they were. I tried to learn as much as possible, and took that to my own restaurant. I’ve ended up making my name as, ‘the rebel with a culinary cause.’
“Being here in Brazil has given me new inspiration with ingredients. Fish and shellfish always pair well with acidic flavor, but then what? How about adding an element of sweetness? Pairing scallops, which really are the marshmallows of the sea, with vanilla is amazing. It brings out their sweetness so fully, but not in a cloying way.
“Well, this place is so gorgeous and exotic and I better be off to go and enjoy it. It’s time for more food, sun, and fun times with friends. Tough job, I know. Until my next entry!”
Interview by Leigh Suznovich