Flash-grilled: Manu Buffara

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled: Manu Buffara

Related tags Chef Brazilian Latin America 50 Best

The internationally-acclaimed Brazilian chef, who recently came to the UK to run a residency at Amazonico London, tells us about her career to date.

What was your first industry job?
My first industry job was at Salish Lodge and Spa, a beautiful hotel 30 minutes east of Seattle.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I always thought I’d be an investigator, or perhaps an engineer if I wasn’t a chef.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Alex Atala and Rene Redzepi, because in addition to being great chefs, they are incredible human beings, who not only think about their restaurant but also about the entire community. And like me, they believe in change through food.

Describe your cooking style...
Cooking is respecting the time of things. Food is the essential component of good health. Each meal requires a dress, a face, a tradition.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
Six years ago a couple just did not understand my menu and our restaurant concept. They hated it, but it was ok.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A knife or a blender. These are two items that are really important in the menu I'm making today.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
My last meal would have to be with my family. I’d choose to eat something quite casual, something from my mum or husband.

À la carte or tasting menu?
It really depends. I personally love a tasting menu but sometimes an à la carte menu is essential to a restaurant.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
Faviken - an incredible restaurant in Sweden run by Magnus Nilsson. A restaurant that had no intention of impressing, with a unique menu. It is impossible to forget.

Favourite fast food joint?
In-N-Out, or most street food.

MasterChef ​or Great British Menu​?
Both - it really just depends on the day.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
My grandfather. He passed away before trying my food so this would be very special to me.

What’s your earliest food memory?
My mum’s shrimp soup.

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
I love to play tennis.

Tipple of choice?
Orange wines from Georgia and Slovenia.

Favourite food and drink pairing?
Orange wine and raw fish.

What do you consider your signature dish?
I would have to say my carrot and levain sauce dish. It's a way to end the menu with vegetables and at the same time make my customers aware that you don't need protein to make an amazing dish. Vegetables can be the protagonists of a meal.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Love and trust your hands, mouth and smell. Always believe in yourself.

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