Flash-grilled: Alberto Landgraf

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Credit: Anton Rodriguez
Credit: Anton Rodriguez

Related tags Alberto Landgraf Brazil Chef London Michelin Bossa

The acclaimed Brazilian chef, who recently launched his first London restaurant, Bossa, in Marylebone, on what he'd do if he wasn't in kitchens, and a dangerous deep sea fishing trip.

What was your first industry job?
The Contented Vine, a pub that used to exist in Pimlico.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I would be a carpenter or a dog walker. A tennis player, an F1 driver or a major league baseball player would also do it.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Neide Rigo, a chef/researcher from Brazil, is the person who knows the most about Brazilian cuisine in my opinion.

What’s your pet hate in the kitchen?
Dirty things.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Once, a guest threw a knife at his daughter. I asked him to leave, and the daughter was upset with me, not with her dad. 

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Flavour, texture, acidity and deliciousness.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
In a previous restaurant, someone on TripAdvisor destroyed us because they felt too cold in the restaurant. According to them, the air was too cold, but in Rio, they love the air conditioning freezing.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Don’t let anyone exploit you, and don’t treat anyone in a way you wouldn’t want to be treated.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A razor-sharp knife.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Sushi or fried chicken.

À la carte or tasting menu?
Depends on the occasion. There’s room for both in our lives.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
Sushi omakase at Sawada, a sushi place; and Funn Ji, a ramen place - both in Tokyo.

What’s your favourite fast food joint?
Any sort of fried chicken.

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
A hamburger, there’s no dish more copied and eaten in the world.

MasterChef or Great British Menu?
Great British Menu.

What’s the most overrated food?
Foraged and fermented foods, and restaurants saying they use 'ingredients from their own garden' on the menu. 

You’re restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Mistreatment and looking down on the staff. From the customers and the chefs/owners.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
My parents, brother and nephew. 

What’s your earliest food memory?
Drinking milk straight from the cow, so fresh. It left me with a white 'moustache'.

Twitter or Instagram?
I wish I could live without either. But I can’t.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
Ì was deep sea fishing once, and the ocean was very calm, we decided to have a quick dive before leaving, and the boat was not anchored. A wave came out of nowhere, and the boat started floating away, we had no vest, and we had to swim after the boat. It was a close one. Ì was 18 at the time.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
I’ve recently spent a weekend in Seasalter and Whitstable. I really love that part of the country and intend to go back often.

What’s your tipple of choice
Sacred spiced vermouth with tonic and ice.

What’s your favourite food and drink pairing?
Coca-Cola and fried chicken.

What do you consider to be your signature dish?
I’d say two: pickled sardine with raw foie gras, toasted juniper and brioche; and a raw Brazil nut ice cream.

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