Create menus with typical products of Madeira, with a chef invited to give them a special touch. The kick-off of the first initiative of the “12 chefs 12 months” project took place on Saturday at the Kampo restaurant, by chef Júlio Pereira, in Funchal, and it was a success, with a full house and many compliments on the menu prepared. by chef Tiago Bonito, who until recently commanded the kitchen at the Largo do Paço restaurant, at Casa da Calçada Relais & Chateaux, in Amarante, awarded a Michelin star.
THE chef guest already had a basic idea of what he was going to prepare. But it was on the eve of the event, Friday, at the famous Mercado dos Lavradores, in the center of Funchal, accompanied by the chef local, who came into contact with regional products and began to idealize and perfect his creation to serve lunch.
“I show them the products. But here there is no obligation, they do what they want. But their desire is to use Madeira products, even to challenge themselves. For example, Tiago Bonito has never made skipjack. [um peixe pequeno muito apreciado pelos madeirenses] in life. It was a new product he learned to make. The idea is also a bit like that, that they can take a bit of Madeira with them”, said the chef Júlio Pereira to DN, he who owns two restaurants in Funchal, Kampo and Ákua, curiously located next to each other.
Júlio Pereira, who was born in a village near Ericeira and who caught the culinary bug through his father’s butchers, his grandfather’s vegetable gardens and in his mother’s kitchen, has been based in Madeira since 2013. I organized a similar project, but not as ambitious. “It involves a desire to receive friends at home and show them what Madeira is, as a region, as a culture, as gastronomy. It is a part without pretensions”, he says. “People loved it and are already booking for the next events. It’s also a privilege for these people to be able to meet these people. chefs guests without going to the mainland, and at an affordable price. We all learn and enjoy it,” he adds.
THE chef/entrepreneur points out that this initiative “does not cook with four hands”: “It is the chefs guests who idealize everything. I only show them Madeira products. There is great acceptance with them. Madeira is an exotic country, people don’t know what they’re going to get, but they know it’s good. One of the main goals is also to promote the island, which is the Madeira brand, the Madeira destination, the island’s own culture. And then they take a little Madeira with them as well”.
the messenger cook
This is how the menu is prepared by chef Tiago Bonito. To start with, three dishes – fried cod, skipjack with aubergine and miso and tuna with carrots, passion fruit and black garlic – followed by two others: snapper with banana, fennel and seaweed and oxtail with brioche and spicy horseradish. For dessert, something very regional: honey cake with Madeira wine and mango sorbet. A menu with a cost of 55 euros per person, drinks included.
“The thought was immediately with the local customer, and give them something they know, in the sense of an area of comfort. The idea was to create a bit of what my kitchen is, my DNA, and put it on matches the local product. For example, I love tuna, and I immediately thought of a mixture with passion fruit. Another example: skipjack, which was the first time I cooked it, although I already knew it. Here it’s salty and dry, it’s a less appreciated fish, I tried to give it a more Asian touch. And in snapper I mix it with banana and fennel”, describes to DN the chef Tiago Bonito.
“When the product is good, the only thing we have to do to maintain it is not to despise it. Then we work a little on it. For dessert, as we are in Madeira, I immediately thought of the famous honey cake and mixed it with mango”, he added.
For Tiago Bonito, it was “a very positive experience”. “The cooks are also messengers. This time I brought a bit of the continent’s message and a bit of Madeira’s gastronomic culture”, he concluded.
The next event is on February 25, and will be the chef Rodrigo Castelo, from Ó Balcão restaurant, in Santarém. Next month, also on the 25th, it will be Diogo Rocha, chef of Mesa de Lemos, in Viseu, with a Michelin star, discovering the wonders of Madeira and presenting their original creations.