In between whipping up an amazing Tuna Carpaccio for an eager raki table, Lisbon-based chef and Taberna owner, André Magalhães spoke about his life-long interest in food and why he’d never swap his tiny Taberna for a big, bustling kitchen.
When I was a child…
“Food has been a life-long interest, I started cooking when I was a child. I was lucky enough to have a mother who was a very talented cook. I grew up in a farm in Angola, Africa. I remember feeling a bit isolated because I lived on a farm and so I didn’t have any children to play with outside of school. My younger sister was more into riding her bike and I was more into staying in the kitchen.
My father, who was an ecologist, tried to make the farm self-sufficient so we always had very fresh, locally sourced products and we had a stretch of ocean adjacent to the farm and a nearby river so we always had fresh fish and shrimp. I was lucky enough to have a bounty of produce that were available, so my mother could be very creative and cook a variety of things!
“The different places I lived enriched my culinary world”
When I grew up, we had to move to Europe and leave Angola because of the civil war so I ended up travelling a lot. The different places I lived enriched my culinary world. Now, I live in Lisbon but I spent part of life abroad just travelling and living in different places! When I opened my Taberna in Lisbon, I said I was going to have a small place, where I can cook whatever I want and that’s exactly what I do. I have a black slate and I just write up different dishes everyday. I choose according to the seasonality of the produce. Sometimes if a purveyor comes from the countryside with some nice produce I’ll change everything at the start of the day, that’s the way I cook now!”
Watch him with top chefs Barbara Massaad and Aydin Demir cook up a fest for the raki table at Broadway Market. www.yenirakiglobal.com/yeni-raki-x-top-mediterranean-chefs/