An Algarvian to the core - or to the “yolk” as they say locally - Rui Baltazar was born in Castro Marim, among the meanders of the Guadiana. He has worked in the restaurant trade for approximately 30 years. His professional career is also thoroughly Algarvian since he has worked exclusively in the region, specialising, as might be expected, in traditional cuisine.
Paulo Fortes, Executive Chef, shares the leadership of the restaurants at the Hotel Vila Vita Parc, which he joined following experience in other hotels in the region. His cooking is eclectic and meticulous in style, even perfectionist, it could be said. His training at the Algarve Hotel and Tourism School inevitably brought him into contact with the roots of Algarve cuisine, enabling him to make take risks with confidence.
Lastly, here is the recipe that Chef Nuno Diniz created in honour of the educationalist and gastronome Renato Costa.
Nuno Diniz is without doubt one of the most famous names in Portuguese cuisine, not only as a chef but also as a trainer, columnist, consultant and judge on the television show Top Chef. His enviable professional career follows a no less brilliant training in various restaurants in European cities like London and Paris. It is difficult to describe his cooking in words. It can perhaps be described as intellectual, or as cooking inspired by knowledge.
Manfred Kickmaier is Executive Chef of Vila Vita Parc and at the same time a trainer on several culinary courses. He has brought a different approach from his native Austria and his country’s culture is a constant feature of the style of his dishes. All the same, Manfred Kickmaier appears to have made a deep foray into the cuisine of the Algarve, displaying knowledge and expertise in the way he selects and uses the ingredients of his adopted region.
Ligia Santos’s media fame arose from winning the first Portuguese edition of the MasterChef programme, which opened doors for her to the world of cooking and led her to establish the masterCOOK Club, through which she displays her culinary creativity in workshops and culinary demonstrations, wine-themed dinners, the organisation and management of events and consultancy on the development of recipes and products.
Justa Nobre is a household name in Portuguese cuisine and is famous for reinventing good Portuguese cooking. Her career has included several major projects, the success of which is attributable above all to the dedication and expertise she invests in the preparation of her dishes. An ambassador for various brands and causes, it was with great enthusiasm that she accepted an invitation to contribute to this project.
Born in Mértola, in the Baixo Alentejo, João Santos is intimately familiar with the Algarve, its indigenous ingredients and traditional recipes from south of the Tagus. He is Executive Chef of a hotel group. His thorough knowledge of the Algarve was crucial to this project, enabling him to impart an authentic touch to the dishes he makes.
John Santana belongs to a promising new generation of Algarve chefs whose potential belies his short career. He began in the kitchen team of the restaurants at the Monte Rei Golf & Country Club in Vila Nova de Cacela, and is currently sous chef at Tertúlia Algarvia in Faro. Technically faultless, his dishes show seriousness of detail and delicacy of flavours.
Highly respected by his peers both in the Algarve and nationally, Henrique Leandro began his career in France, where he worked in several prestigious restaurants. After returning to Portugal, he has occupied several prominent positions in the region, including as coordinator of the Cookery and Patisserie course of the Algarve Hotel and Tourism School and President of the Algarve Chefs and Confectioners Association. His experience, combined with an adventurous spirit, means he receives constant requests to collaborate on projects such as this, which he embraces with obvious pleasure.
After graduating from the Algarve Hotel and Tourism School, Frederico Lopes spent fifteen years working in various restaurants before he joined Tertúlia Algarvia, which aims to reinvent the region’s traditional cuisine. He believes that the quality of ingredients is a crucial factor for success in cooking and that it cannot be done without passion or dedication.
Diogo Noronha has an enviable track record and a career spanning over ten years at national and international level. He has been hailed as one of the most promising chefs in Portugal. His personal and professional experience is varied, having experimented with macrobiotics and vegetarianism. This has left its impression on his cooking: an extraordinary facility in handling unusual ingredients that greatly enhance the composition of his dishes, which are characterised by meticulousness and richness.
A native of Odemira, Vítor Matos moved at an early age to the Algarve, where he has worked in various restaurants. During the last ten years, he has been involved in projects focusing on traditional Algarve and Alentejo cuisine. His cooking can be said to be composed of strong flavours, which only ingredients from the Algarve Serra guarantee.
A native of Buenos Aires, Chakall divides his professional activities between several countries. In addition to his restaurants, he is involved in other projects including television programmes and writing books. His communication skills and versatility add rhythm to his cuisine, whose palette seems endless.
Carlos Valente’s career began very early as a pastry chef and has spanned almost 30 years, both in Madeira and in the north and south of mainland Portugal. He has also worked in Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela, where he now lives. Carlos Valente regularly shares his knowledge with others through his training or consultancy activities in patisserie, chocolate and ice cream. His art, apart from being sweet, is meticulous, and his replicas of monuments or other artistic pieces in sugar and chocolate are famous.
A passionate supporter of causes, Chef Augusto Lima incorporates the principles of the Mediterranean diet and Algarve products in his cooking. He is involved in several projects at present as a consultant. It is also a supporter of the Algarve Slow Food Movement and a chef trainer at the Júlio Dantas School in Lagos and at IEFP in Portimão. His cooking can be described as passionate, sweet and sour, employing herbs and spices, combining technique with creativity and regarding sharing as the sole end.
Trained at the Algarve Hotel and Tourism School, Chef Alberto Carvalho heads the Ria Formosa restaurant in the Hotel Faro. Although he has worked outside the region, including in the Vasco da Gama Tower in Lisbon, his experience in various establishments in the Algarve has resulted in his being recognised for his modern approach to cuisine in which traditional roots dominate.