For the first time, Luanda hosted a chef awarded with two Michelin stars, for an event that consisted of two signature dinners and a 'showcooking', at the Epic Sana hotel, on Friday and Saturday, which was sold out.
In an interview with Lusa, Henrique Sá Pessoa pointed out the mix of Angolan and Portuguese influences in the recipes of both countries, highlighting the importance of carrying out work to recover Angolan recipes, something that is also being done by chefs such as Ricardo Braga, that accompanies you on this gastronomic adventure.
"Based on this work we can see innovation happening", he stated, highlighting that the media projection of chefs is also an opportunity to value national cuisine, "and not just what comes from abroad".
A work that has already begun to be done in Portugal, giving rise to a generation of chefs who use national products or traditional cuisine as a starting point, and whose seeds are now being sown in Angola.
"It doesn't necessarily have to be traditional dishes, but at least the product must be local", he highlighted, highlighting that the use of this type of ingredients also means supporting producers, fishermen and the economy in general.
"If we look at the example of Portugal, one of the ways out of the crisis was tourism, which had a huge impact on Lisbon and Portugal, not only in media terms, but also in economic terms, if we think that in restaurants and bars, in hotels, Gastronomy plays an important part in revenue", declared Henrique Sá Pessoa.
The chef also said that as important as having national dishes to make known to tourists, is quality, with "good cuisine, good service and consistency", as visitors will spread this message.
Angolan Ricardo Braga, an avowed disciple and follower of Sá Pessoa, stated that this will be an opportunity to catapult Angolan gastronomy to a higher level, drawing on the experience of the award-winning Portuguese chef to "rescue some national products, transform them and promote them".
"There is a lot to discover, this is fieldwork that is being done and we, the creatives, also inspire other young people so that Angolan gastronomy can develop and grow. We all have a fundamental role in this", he noted.
In the 12 moments of the signature dinner, divided between the two chefs, Portuguese and Angolan flavors were mixed, with classic ingredients presented in an innovative and sophisticated way.
Lily, lobster with curry sauce, "Alentejano" grouper with pea puree and pork chorizo, "piri-piri" pork skin and a tile-shaped pine nut dessert were the Portuguese flavors proposed by Henrique Sá Pessoa.
On the Angolan side, Ricardo Braga paid tribute to the fishermen who "bring good fish to the table", presenting prawns and shrimp from the Angolan coast, chicken muamba with a distinct culinary technique and dried meat with muteta, a traditional dish.
At the end of the tasting, the highlight was the fruit of the baobab tree, mucua, the protagonist of the dessert, in the form of ice cream, foam and powder.
According to Terra Bela Eventos, the organizing entity, Ricardo Braga began his journey in Europe with several international projects, having also worked at the Ritz Four Seasons Lisboa, Meridien, and in the kitchen of three Michelin-starred restaurants: Feitoria, Eleven and Loco.
In 2015 he participated with two Angolan chefs in the First Angolan Gala Dinner at the Gastronomy Academy at the Grand Palais in Paris, France, and was part of the group involved in the start-up of the first five-star hotel in Angola, HCTA.
He later opened the Flor do Duke restaurant and is currently dedicated to developing gastronomic consultancy and training projects in Angola.
Henrique Sá Pessoa has already won several awards, including the Chef of the Year Competition, the most prestigious in the kitchen in Portugal, and the 2007 "Art of Cooking" award, granted by the Academy of Portuguese Gastronomy.
He opened his first solo project, the Alma restaurant, in 2009, and received the Restaurant of the Year award from Revista de Vinhos.
In 2015, he reopened Alma, and the following year he received his first Michelin star. Two years later, in 2018, he won the second.
In September 2022, Henrique Sá Pessoa consolidated, for the second year, his place on the Best Chef Awards list in 70th position.