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The Great Chefs from around the world
27

D.O.M has become a priority destination for all globe-hopping gastronomes, not that chef Alex Atala is resting on his laurels. Instead he scours the Amazon to pepper his with indigenous ingredients, from the staple manioc tuber and its tupuci juice to Amazonian herbs and the huge white-fleshed pirarucu fish to ensure his restaurant is unlike any other on the list. FastForward in D.O.M kitchen is a nice feature on their website.
 

Atala’s work has brought him around the world. He’s participated in numerous events for the Ritz-Carlton and presented at gastronomical conferences, including Alimentaria and Madrid Fusion. He has appeared on Mesa pra Dois, and recently published Alex Atala: Por uma Gastronomia Brasileira (Alex Atala – For a Brazilian Gastronomy), a two volume cookbook of recipes and documentary photographs featuring indigenous Brazilian ingredients.

 

Alex Atala (Milad Alexandre Mack Atala, born June 3, 1968 in São Paulo, Brazil He's known by transforming traditional Brazilian dishes adopting the French and Italian cuisine's techniques on native Brazilian ingredients.

 

Atala was born in the neighbourhood of Mooca in São Paulo, from a middle-class family of Palestinian origin. His father, Milad Atala, was an employee of a rubber factory and his mother, Otavia Mack Da Silva, was to him an example to follow. He always said he loved the cuisine of his mother. Atala was raised in the city of São Bernardo do Campo and at the age of 14 left his family home and went to live in São Paulo, where he worked as a DJ in the night club Rose Bom Bom.

 

When he was 18, he went on a backpacking trip to Europe and first worked as a wall painter in Belgium. Following a friend's suggestion, he enrolled himself in a catering college. After his graduation, he worked in restaurants in Belgium, France and Italy, where he has shaped his gastronomic skills besides learning to speak English, French and Italian.


Alex Atala is an imaginative and edgy chef, Alex Atala is known in Brazil and throughout the world for exploring, through classical bases and classical techniques, and most importantly the gastronomical possibilities of Brazilian ingredients.

Atala began his profession when he was 19 in Belgium, at the École Hôtelière de Namur. Later In France he worked at Jean Pierre Bruneau’s Michelin 3-star restaurant, and staged at Hotel de la Cote D’Or with Chef Bernard Loiseau. Later he headed to new ventures in the cuisines of Montpellier, France and Milan, Italy. The work at Michelin rated restaurant had given him the necessary experience to back to Sao Paulo to start his solo career.

In 1994 he returned to São Paulo, where his performance in several establishments around the city attracted the attention of journalists and gourmands. By the end of 1999 he opened D.O.M. restaurant. In 2009 Atala opened his second restaurant, Dalva e Dito, to critical acclaim.

Atala’s work has brought him around the world. He’s participated in numerous events for the Ritz-Carlton and presented at gastronomical conferences, including Alimentaria and Madrid Fusion. He has appeared on Mesa pra Dois, and recently published Alex Atala: Por uma Gastronomia Brasileira (Alex Atala – For a Brazilian Gastronomy), a two volume cookbook of recipes and documentary photographs featuring indigenous Brazilian ingredients.



Number of reviews are out there but here is one that captured my attention:

NyTimes:
Alex Atala, the chef at this restaurant, was vaulted to international fame for using Brazilian ingredients in majestically executed contemporary dishes. One example: scallops marinated in coconut milk with a crispy mango chip (resembling a dragonfly wing).
The restaurant’s name stands for Dominus Optimo Maximo, signifying Mr. Atala’s desire to have the “home” of the “best” “and greatest” cooking. It is fancy but not regal, warm but not intimate. It could be, based just on looks, a slightly stuffy French restaurant in midtown Manhattan. The service, attentive to what some would consider a fault, includes greetings from everyone, pushing your chair in under you when you’re seated, that kind of thing.

Entrees were another blow-out success. Carolina, again proving her ordering prowess, got the baby pork ribs and forbidden rice with catupiry (73 reais). Forbidden rice, a purple-black heirloom strain that is not native to Brazil, worked fantastically with the catupiry, a creamy cheese that is a sort of national spread that goes in or on everything from fried appetizers to pizza. And the ribs managed to be in the zone where falling off the bone meets slightly crispy. It was, and I’ve never said this before, a rib I will remember a long time.

You can order desserts like cagaita sorbet — another fruit not even on my list — or you could just wait for the outrageous tray of sweets that comes with your espresso. They include Dadinho candies, little cubes of sugary peanut paste that were lost on me, but that anyone who was a child in Brazil in the last three or four decades will recognize. Just imagine Pop Rocks served at Le Cirque.

Since my visit, Mr. Atala has changed the menu, hand signing every one with a declaration that captures the changing nature of the city’s cuisine: “D.O.M. takes on its original vocation: to be Brazilian. I thus renounce the use of foie gras and truffles."


Awards:

In April 2011, D.O.M. become the 7th best restaurant in the world, according to the prestigious S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, published by Restaurant magazine. It also holds the title The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In South America.

S. Pellegrino is an institution that annually gives awards to the best restaurants and chefs of the world. this award to the assessment and reference to search for restaurants and chefs by the quality of the best cuisine in the world. Restaurant D.O.M. has been recognized as the world’s seventh best restaurant, this is evidenced by the award of The World’s Best Restaurant by S. Pellegrino and the Best Restaurant in South America by The Acqua Panna in 2011 based on the results of a poll conducted by S. Pellegrino. See wonderful images here:

Interview:
Interview with Chef Alex Atala: Dom Restaurant, Brazil

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