Joanna Martins, 38, inherited a great legacy: to spread the culture of Pará cuisine throughout Brazil and the world. Something that she does very well, since she belongs to a family with, let’s say, this mission in their DNA. Joanna’s father, Paulo Martins (1946-2010), was considered an ambassador of Pará cuisine and a pioneer in promoting Brazilian ingredients abroad. Because of that, Paulo is admired by important names of our gastronomy, such as Alex Atala, Mônica Rangel and Guga Rocha, ambassador of Instituto Brasil a Gosto.
Ahead of the Instituto Paulo Martins, created in 2012 in her father honour, this brunette woman with sweet eyes, who has studied advertising and administration, faces the challenge of being executive director of the Instituto that has the mission of preserving Paulo’s legacy at the same time she continues to fight for the treasures of Pará to be known and preserved. She also runs Manioca Brasil, a company dedicated to delivering Amazônia’s diversity all over the world through products like tucupi, nuts, flours, sauces and jams. We must remember that until very recently all of these products were only used in restaurants and among chefs from other parts of Brazil if they bought them in the informal market, almost smuggling them into someone’s suitcase to get them out of Pará.
In its 15th edition, the famous festival Ver-o-Peso of Pará Cuisine, which was idealized by Paulo, is also coordinated by Joanna. But she is not alone. She has a team of strong women at her side. Her older sister, Daniela, is a chef and is the one that takes care of everything that is gastronomy related, including the command of the family’s restaurant Lá em Casa, in Belém. Their mother Tanea supervises everything and is also the one who travels to find any ingredients in a distant village or to search for recipes in old archives. Together, the three of them fight for keeping their family name in the development of Amazon region cuisine by encouraging research, education and spreading this culture.
Throughout her professional path, Joanna naturally became a researcher and an activist. She is responsible for projects like the I Conferência Livre de Gastronomia da Amazônia (free conference of Amazon cuisine), the Projeto Editorial Culinária Papa-Chibé (editorial project Papa-Chibé cuisine) ; the Projeto Educacional Broca Pai D’égua (24 hours) (educational project Broca Pai D’’egua); and the course CUIA – Culinária Imersiva Amazônica (immersive Amazon cuisine), 1st course of Amazon cuisine in Brazil (72 hours). In 2018, she created the Pura Amazônia Group, a trade organization with 20 small food and beverage companies from the region of Belém, that made her known as the entrepreneur of the year by the Conselho da Mulher Empresária (woman entrepreneur council) from Associação Comercial do Pará (commercial association of Pará). Working for Brazilian cuisine for Amazon is what this trajectory is all about.