Joyce Galvão: a confectioner that pays attention to recipe’s chemical reactions

Joyce Galvão is a chef and is also an engineer. And it’s all about her curiosity to understand how the cooking processes work. “I’ve wanted to work with someone who could answer all my deepest questions about cooking”, she says. That’s why she started to study food engineering after her graduation in gastronomy, at Anhembi Morumbi.  

 

But how does this story begin? “By the time I chose my career, gastronomy was not a popular area of study, so I decided to try medicine”, she recalls. But her love for cooking and for the TV recipe’s program of Ofélia were really huge. So huge that after trying to be approved at university to study medicine she realized that it was the wrong path and decided to transform her hobby into a career. “My dad gave me support, but many people from my family were shocked and started to criticize me. They said: ‘we used to have a doctor, now we have a cook’?”

 

In fact, they have an engineer. A fearless one, willing to try. “I  have worked in catering, hotels, restaurants, confectionery…I have washed the dishes, I have written gastronomy columns for magazines…”, Joyce says when asked about her experience.

 

In 2007, when she was in her third year at the university, she was invited by El Bulli, a famous restaurant run by Ferran Adrià, to work at Alicia Foundation, a food research centre dedicated to improving people’s health through eating. “I just gave up everything and went there. The research lab was still empty, with no equipment. I saw everything happen in front of my eyes”, she recalls. It was just a question of time for her to go to work at El Bulli and then at El Celer de Can Roca, another award-winning restaurant. By that time, not only had Joyce learned a lot, but also had met other cooks and started to work as a consultant for hotels in London. Little by little she focused on confectionery. 

 

“The food chemical reactions are easier to see, to explain and to manipulate in confectionary. And I’ve always preferred sweets, so I believe I would never be as good a cook as I could be as a confectionary”, she explains. Back to Brazil in 2009, Joyce started to work in a lot of activities: as a teacher (she still is a teacher!), as a consultant, managing her own confectionery for six years (it is permanently closed now), and she also wrote a book, A Química dos Bolos (cake’s chemistry).

 

“Ten years ago, Brazilian gastronomy was not this famous, at least not inside our own country. Now it has found its path: there are more cooks dedicated to understanding it, to learning it and to modernizing the most traditional recipes using our own influences, but confectionery is still a mess. We know little about the origins and stories of our desserts and candies. If you ask a Brazilian to name a local sweet he or she will say brigadeiro, unless you are in the Northeast region”, says Joyce, that works to change this reality in her courses – like the one she made at Instituto Brasil a Gosto in June – and with the event Compartir, that she created to discuss the construction of a national confectionary.