La brasiliana Helena Rizzo vince il titolo di miglior cuoca del mondo 2014

Helena Rizzo chef

È la brasiliana Helena Rizzo la migliore cuoca del mondo, vincitrice dell’edizione 2014 del premio Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef 2014. Lo scorso anno ad essere premiata era stata l’italiana Nadia Santini.




Nell’ambito del The World’s 50 Best Restaurant (qui l’elenco completo dei 50 migliori ristoranti del mondo) è previsto ogni anno un premio speciale – “Veuve Clicquot World’s Best female chef” – per la migliore chef donna. Nel 2011 la vincitrice è stata la francese Anna-Sophie Pic, nel 2012 la spagnola Elena Arzak, nel 2013 la “nostra” Nadia Santini del ristorante Dal Pescatore di Canneto sull’Oglio (sesto nella classifica comparativa dei migliori ristoranti italiani 2014).


Ora è la volta della brasiliana Helena Rizzo. Trentasei anni, ex studentessa di architettura ed ex modella, già eletta migliore chef donna dell’America Latina nel 2013, la Rizzo gestisce con il marito Daniel Redondo il ristorante Manì di San Paolo, aperto nel 2006. Il piatto simbolo del ristorante è base di manioca: la celebre radice – ingrediente simbolo dell’alimentazione degli indios amazzonici – viene cotta e servita con latte di cocco, olio di tartufo bianco e tucupi (una tradizionale salsa brasiliana).


Queste le motivazioni del premio: “It seems as if Helena Rizzo’s journey to the top of the international restaurant game has only just begun. Yet the pinnacle is already in sight, with two major awards in as many years and a restaurant that is steadily moving up The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Rizzo was last year handed the award for Best Female Chef at the inaugural Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants and this year sees her achieve the same honour on the global stage, an extraordinary achievement for someone still only in her mid-30s. Her restaurant Mani in São Paulo’s upscale Jardim Paulistano suburb marries traditional Brazilian ingredients and culinary philosophies with modern technique and a dash of international influence, from Spain and Italy in particular. This results in wildly exciting but accessible food: diners here loosen their metaphorical ties and tuck into sticky skewers of octopus with confit potatoes and sweet paprika; heady cachaça-steamed shrimp; and peach palm and pumpkin tortelli. The Brazilian-born cook’s ability to reconcile a respect for tradition with contemporary techniques and evolution in cuisine is part raw talent and part experience. Since the very beginning of her professional journey Rizzo sought to work under chefs that shared her broad and adaptive culinary outlook. After turning her back on a career in modelling and – latterly – her training as an architect, Rizzo learned her craft under some of São Paulo’s most influential chefs including Emmanuel Bassoleil, Luciano Boseggia and Neka Menna Barreto. After a brief stint running the kitchen of the city’s Na Mata Café, the young Rizzo embarked on a culinary grand tour around Italy and Spain that culminated at seminal Girona restaurant El Celler de Can Roca. It was here that she met her future husband, the Spaniard Daniel Redondo. The pair opened Mani in 2006 and continue to run the kitchen (and indeed the rest of the restaurant) as a partnership. This highly unusual approach clearly works: Rizzo’s delicate, openly feminine style is allowed to shine through, making Mani one of the very best restaurants in Latin America – led by the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef”.


(Luigi Torriani)


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