“Eating and cooking is first and foremost about having fun. In the monotony of our lives, and even more so in difficult times like the one we are going through, savoring good things is an essential act – a ray of sunshine with little bits from elsewhere. This is what has always animated me: making travel without leaving Paris, transporting thanks to tastes and good products.
“When I started working life, I was a cook for two years. Then I realized that I was not going to become Ducasse, I preferred to devote myself to the gym. “
I was born in Portugal, between Lisbon and Porto. My parents came to France before me, to look for a job, and I stayed in Portugal with my godfather until I was 6 years old. I started my education in Paris when I entered CP in September 1971. I quickly learned French, and after college, I joined a hotel school. I started working in the restaurant business when I was 16.
Before leaving his country to escape the dictatorship of Salazar, my father was a baker, but I never knew him in trouble. Like most Portuguese who emigrated to France, my parents had to find work without papers: it was cleaning for her, building for him. For me, it was easier, I was able to follow my vocation and make a career in the restaurant business. My mother cooked a lot at home, I learned with her.
When I entered the workforce, I was a cook for two years. Then I realized that I was not going to become Ducasse, I preferred to devote myself to the gym. I was recruited by Mariage Frères to set up a tea room and, fifteen years later, I founded an import company for Iberian products, La Péninsule, next door.
Back to basics
I was the first to sell Iberian ham legally in France and to supply starred chefs. I founded the Da Rosa delicatessen, rue de Seine, in 2002. It started with a lot of supplies from the Mediterranean – cured meats, oils, preserves, I had up to 400 references. . Today, I have reduced the wing to a hundred products and a restaurant service that is both simple and chic. People are much more interested than before in the origin of the products and the recognition of the work of the producers.
For a long time I focused my selection on Spain and Italy, but now I feel a real need to go back to my Portuguese roots. After confinement, I bought a house near Faro where I spent time. It is not easy to be an emigrant, because one becomes a foreigner in the place where one comes from. I had to re-tame, rediscover this country, its culture, its tastes and its colors, its gastronomy.
The bacalhau in Gomes de Sà is, for me, symbolic of this connection. It is a recipe created by Gomes de Sà, son of a rich cod trader in the 19th century.e century, who opened a restaurant in Porto after his father’s bankruptcy. It has become an iconic dish in Portugal, one of the 365 cod-based recipes, which I garnish with the best Italian olives, succulent Sicilian capers, delicious olive oil, piquillos and chili. d’Espelette… All the products I love in a recipe that resonates with me. “
The Taste of M