“This is a Brazilian magazine and there is no recipe from Brazil?”, questioned Bettina Orrico, a native of Salvador, Bahia, back then in the 70s, when she was put in charge of Food section at Claudia, the largest and most traditional women’s magazine in the country.
Step by step, she was sowing this idea, a pioneer and even strange one for that time. Bettina herself was (and still is) an avid collector of foreign food magazines and she was familiar to American and French recipes, or any other thing that was fancy at that period of time.
A spark was lit when she lived in Rome, right after studying Fine Arts in Brazil. In Italy, she recognized the local pride of their own food and she wanted to replicate this feeling around here. But it was difficult to face the market, something she was able to manage after she was set to travel around the country with Paul Bocuse, the French chef who is considered one of the great names in the history of gastronomy. “One of my first challenges at the magazine was to travel following French chef Paul Bocuse (1926-2018). I was enchanted by the way he talked about the importance of the cuisine of each country, concerned about what was happening at the restaurants and people’s houses. He missed that passion here”, she recalls.
When she finally was able to show in the newsroom how Italy and France, places of birth of classic gastronomy, face the food, she received carte blanche to encourage Brazilian food. She was so right that today, at age 85, Betting is considered as the Lady of journalism dedicated to cooking.
Accumulating a number of awards for her boldness, she ran a test kitchen back then, with six people testing recipes on a daily basis. “It was a project for 45 years long, from 1973 to 2018. I feel so grateful. I don’t even think I deserve the label of pioneer, but I am proud, indeed, of being approached by people who say ‘I’ve learnt to cook with you’, until this day. I think I actually reached my goal!”, declares Bettina, who from now on will be a columnist at Brasil a Gosto Institute.
“My struggle now is to this cuisine to consolidate. We’ve had a ‘boom’ in the past decade, but that cannot die. This euphoria has to be treated in a positive way, as an art that is essential: eating well, eating beautifully, as a celebration, a culture”. Welcome, Bettina.