Thiago Andrade was still attending Gastronomy course (at Anhembi Morumbi college, in São Paulo), when he began as a trainee at Brasil a Gosto restaurant, in 2011. Gradually, the former publicist went from sous-chef to chef and Ana Luiza Trajano’s right-hand man – not only in the restaurant, but also in events and lectures throughout the country, and producing material to books books with the signature of founder and president of Brasil a Gosto Institute.
In mid-2017, Thiago left the country to spend some time in Europe. While in Portugal, he went through an immersion with talented chef Vitor Sobral, an ambassador of Portuguese gastronomy. He worked at three houses run by Sobralin Lisbon: Peixaria, Tasca and Balcão da Esquina – all his restaurants, over there or here in Brazil, carry the surname “da Esquina” (corner’s). The experience soon made him realize that the country has much more than traditional cod fish and pastel de Belém (custard tart). “It was becoming clear to me that much of Brazilian cuisine comes from the Portuguese: rice, stews, confectionery… Similarly, our boteco (Brazilian traditional bar) goes back to tascas (Portuguese taverns), where they eat well at reasonable prices”, says Thiago, 32.
Sao Paulo native then left for Italy, in order to conclude a journey back to his family origins. “There you talk about food all the time. It’s in the country’s DNA. For Italians, seasonality, quality and freshness of ingredients matter a lot. “The local passion for gastronomic culture was one of the factors that lured the chef and also Ana Luiza, who lived there during her gastronomy course.
Back to Brazil, by the middle of 2018, Thiago was invited by her to take over as chef of Brasil a Gosto Institute. Among its activities are investigations of ingredients and suppliers, recipes and Brazilian techniques – such as “moquém”, a kind of barbecue that was made by Brazilian Indians and hunters far before the Portuguese colonization. Thiago also coordinates the Institute’s participation in fairs and events and leads courses and lectures by the organization. Alongside the president, he has also been working on the development of a line of products under Brasil a Gosto brand. “I came with the mission to show people that Brazilian food is not just a fashion. It is part of our essence”, he says.