Heloísa Bacellar is caress, feeling, tenderness. She puts all of this in everything she does just like no one else. She puts all of this in her home cooking (her kitchen is an amusement park for those who love cooking and in her restaurant kitchen, named Lá da Venda. She was born in São Paulo and has loved fubá cake, hearts of palm pastries and oven rice since the beginning of (her) times and before this kind of food became trendy and a marketing issue in the gastronomy field – symbolised in Brazil by the popular hashtags #comidadeverdade (true food) and the international #comfortfood.
She made this clear in 2009, when she opened Lá da Venda, in Vila Madalena neighbourhood in São Paulo, mimicking the “vendas”: old places in Brazil countryside that usually sell simple meals, warm cakes, candies, serve coffee and other drinks in enamelled mugs, sell straw cigarettes, kitchen cloths and lots of other stuff. And, of course, there is always a bar counter to stand and have a nice chat, something Heloísa likes a lot. “The “venda” represents me! It is my life. I am made of sugar and pans. I Don’t know how to live in any other way, so I try to stress the importance of sweetness in life, with sugar or honey. It is not natural living without this. You need this at least once in a while, even if it is a very sweet fruit bite”, states Helô.
She also likes writing and has published five books in Brazil and two in France: Cozinhando para amigos (2005), Cozinhando para Amigos II – entre panelas e tigelas, a aventura continua (2008); Bacalhau – receitas e história – das águas geladas às caçarolas (2009); Chocolate todo dia – 119 receitas para todo mundo se derreter (2010); Brasil à Mesa (2014); Cozinha Brasileira – Histórias e Receitas (2019); all published by Editora DBA; Le Brésil à Table ( Le Bon Marché, Paris, 2013); and Made in Brazil (Larousse, 2014). Helô is creative, curious and up-to-date, so she soon realized that she needed to be online as well. In 2017 she gathered her stories (as she named it, her “Helozices”) in a digital platform with recipes, stories and travel diaries.
She is actually a pioneer. In 1999 she opened Atelier Gourmand in partnership with the entrepreneur Paula Moraes, one of the first cooking schools in São Paulo. For six years she, who was still working as a lawyer, had lots of fun by teaching. But where did she learn the things she was teaching? Her first kitchen memories go back to when she was 6, with her grandmother in one of the family’s farms at Serra da Canastra, in Minas Gerais or at São Luiz do Paraitinga, in São Paulo. When she was 12 or 13, she learned from her mother cooking books from the 1960’s, a time when cooking literature was scarce and what was actually available was expensive. Already a grown up, she went to live in Paris to follow her husband and got two certificates: Le Grand Diplôme of Cuisine and of Pâtisserie from the famous school Le Cordon Bleu.
The decision to definitely change her career from law to cooking came in 2005. Today, at 55, she celebrates that Lá da Venda already has a branch at Shopping JK Iguatemi and a factory named Lá da Vendinha, also in São Paulo.