Chef Guto says Brazil is a lot like India, in that every state and every corner of the country you have different kinds of food.
Internationally-renowned chef of Brazilian origin, who has over three decades of experience, having owned and run six restaurants in five countries around the world,
Chef Guto Souza is currently Executive Chef & Partner, Boteco – Restaurante Brasileiro, a newly opened India's first authentic Brazilian restaurant in Bangalore. The restaurant captures the essence of a Brazilian watering hole, sees everything from quick bites like Coxinhas, a popular street food of lightly spiced chicken golden-fried to perfection; Entradas’ – including favourites like Pão de Queijo – traditional cheese breads, and Linguiça com Mandioca and more. The place sees Guto playing with big, bold and fresh flavours. It’s nothing less than Brazil on a plate.
Chef Guto’s impressive track record includes highly successful restaurants like ‘Fusion Restaurant’ and ‘Go with the Flow’ in Goa (India) for which he won both local and national accolades; ‘La Cacerola’ in Amsterdam (Holland), which was awarded 5 stars by Time Out Amsterdam and ‘Tante Kiki’ in Bruges (Belgium) won the title of ‘Best International Restaurant’ by The Taste of Bruges
In a chit chat with HT Slurrp Chef Guto Souza Executive Chef & Partner, Boteco – Restaurante Brasileiro talks about his favourite Indian street food to his idea of innovation when it comes to food and more
What has been your inspiration to the trade?
My family comes from a farm area – Jataí in Brazil. So I’ve been in close touch with food since I was very young. I grew up watching my mother, who is an excellent cook, create magic in the family kitchen. I spent many of my holidays while growing up on the farm, where I would watch my aunts and grandmom cook all day. I enjoyed setting up the whole table, watching people sit around the table, eating and having a good time. The whole energy around food always inspired me.
It brings so much flavour to the food and at the same time does not overpower the other flavours of any dish. It would be my favourite ingredient.
What has been your experience with Indian food? Your top three picks?
I came to India to learn how to cook Indian food. I was lucky to meet all the right people at the right juncture. I lived in Goa for 6 years, where I have fantastic friends. They taught me a lot about Indian food. And it really surprised me. Indian food is so full of flavours, filled with different things, and it’s this variety is what really surprised me.
3 picks: Hard to say, but I love Biryani, and I love whatever comes from the tandoor. And last but not the least, is the Samosa. I really love a good samosa. I don’t know why, perhaps it’s close to something in Brazil called ‘Pastel’, - perhaps that’s why I really like it.
What has been your idea of comfort food? What’s your fondest food memory?
Comfort food for me is my mom’s food. She was an excellent cook. Anything that she makes is magical. Whenever I travel back to Brazil, the first thing I do, is I call my mother and ask her to something for me. It makes me very happy and brings back lot of great childhood memories. Our meals in Brazil comprise rice, beans, vegetables, and some form of protein- either fish, pork, or beef.
My fondest food memory is the first time I had suckling pig. I was quite young, but I remember that experience very clearly. My dad is a very good cook as well, but he’s not a natural like my mom. But he had made the full suckling pig on that particular occasion. At first, I was a little concerned when I saw the whole pig on the table, but when I had a bit of that crackling pig, I went like ‘My gosh, what have I been missing all this while.