Alex Atala – or as I call him, Alex Atala of the Amazonas. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, he is the chef of D.O.M. (currently #16 in World’s 50 Best Restaurants).
Alex is a proud Brazilian, he prides himself in incorporating native ingredients in his food and keeping true to his roots by providing a true experience of what Brazil is in his restaurant.
If I told you that he uses ants as an element of one of his dishes, you would not believe it – but it’s true. This is what makes him unique, he doesn’t care if he pushes your comfort boundaries when it comes to his food, because he knows it’s good – really really good.
Some of the signature native ingredients he uses as part of his menu are:
Alex is an inspiration from his approach to cooking, to way of life and his ideologies. I first saw him on the Netflix’s series “Chef’s Table” (highly recommend it) and there was quote he said that had so much truth in it:
“It is not necessary to use expensive ingredients. The luxury is in your hand, in your ability. This is luxury, the human capacity to transform something into emotions”
He wants to shock his diners with unconventional flavours, he wants them to step out of their comfort zone and be daring and try something new, allowing them to be blown back by the journey of the Amazon his food takes them on.
One thing I love about Alex is his passion, not only about the food he creates, but where it originates from – he cares. He leads an amazing project called ATÁ which runs initiatives to help small producers all over Brazil which include communities from the Amazon and Brazilian Rainforest. The manifesto of ATÁ can be found here. I have not been asked to promote ATÁ – I just believe in their mission and what they stand for. If you wish to support the ATÁ initative, please donate here.
D.O.M. is definitely a restaurant I would love to dine at one day, and hopefully have the honour of meeting Chef Alex Atala also.