Carnival 2018, Rio de Janeiro, Marquês de Sapucaí and a deed becomes history: Brazilian gastronomy parades as the theme of a samba school! The celebration was made by União da Ilha, with the theme ‘Brasil Bom de Boca’, based on the homonymous work of the sociologist Raul Lody.

Who embraced the idea and dressed up with the costume of the project’s grandmother was Rio de Janeiro chef Flávia Quaresma. She made the bridge between the gastronomic universe and the community, and also worked as a technical curator, inviting chefs, professionals and influencers. This group supported the idea, obviously: professional chefs were about 50 people, coming from 18 country states. “It is wonderful to be able to show our wealth and infect, increasingly, Brazilians with our Brazilianness that we are still not aware of”, says Flavia.

Flávia made her way to become one of the great professionals to highlight, through french cuisine, Brazilian ingredients and national traditions. Some of her signature dishes, such as boeuf bourguignon, explains the chef’s philosophy and the trademark she left with Carême restaurant, in Rio de Janeiro, considered one the best in the country. “I abandoned the traditional way this recipe was made with wheat flour, and started using cassava, which is a natural thickener. Day by day, I’m leaving the French protocol aside,” she explains.

In 2009, still at her peak, the chef announced the closing of Carême. She began to dedicate herself to special projects and consultancies and became vice president of Instituto Brasil a Gosto. “It’s an incredible challenge. I want to contribute with researches, try to break down barriers of archaic laws and articulate ways of making our gastronomy being seen as a cultural instrument of our heritage. As such, we want it to become part of the school curriculum. Thus, the new generation can already grow on this basis, serving as a multiplier agent of knowledge.”

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Flávia, who is 51 years old, graduated at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, where she also lapidated her skills in schools such as Lenôtre, Bellouet-Conseil and INBP, the National Institute of Boulangerie and Pâtisserie. She lived in Mexico and in Israel, and wrote books, such as ‘Um Olhar Além dos Mercados Brasileiros’ (Arte Ensaio, 2016), ‘Azeite de Oliva: Olivicultura e Gastronomia’ (Olhares, 2016), and ‘Saboreando Mudanças: O Poder Terapêutico dos Alimentos’ (Senac, 2006). Alongside chef Alex Atala, she hosted one of the first food shows at GNT: ‘Mesa Para Dois’ was aired from 2004 to 2007 and portrayed the pair’s travels throughout Brazil, searching for goods, traditions, and stories.

Foto: União da Ilha