ARNALDO AZEVEDO – THE MICHELIN CHEF WHO WASHED ASHORE AT FOZ DO PORTO
Vila Foz Restaurant | Michelin Star 2022 and 2023 | Porto, Portugal
For Chef Arnaldo Azevedo, at the beginning of this year, it was time to stop, to renew inspirations, organize thoughts and return more motivated than ever to continue a work that started well back in time and that in the last two years was distinguished with one of the most renowned awards in world gastronomy: the respected Michelin star.
In charge of Vila Foz Restaurant since its opening in 2019, Arnaldo Azevedo is a creative and bold Chef, with his very own differentiated style.
After a brief stop to settle ideas and reflect, the Vila Foz Restaurant reopened its doors on the 31st of January, with novelties on the menu. Vila Foz now proposes two tasting menus, Maresia and Novo Mundo – familiar names from previously proposed experiences, but now renovated and with some surprises.
On the Maresia Menu, there is, of course, plenty of sea. It’ a menu that reflects the privilege of this proximity, a menu that arrives with the swaying of the tides and brings all the freshness and excellence of our coast. Proposals that celebrate fish and shellfish, in a neat procession of textures and sensations. But those who think that this menu is exclusively from the sea will be surprised to know that there are always two earth moments – that is, two meat dishes – in this surprising gastronomic journey of absolute elevation of the senses.
And because there are also more and more people looking for a new world in gastronomy, the New World Menu takes us, precisely, to other places, freeing us from the shackles of an old world to dazzle us with the daring of new formats and rediscovered flavors. Novo Mundo is exclusively composed of vegetarian dishes and caters to those who do not give up an haute cuisine in a world where there is no place for meat, fish and shellfish.
In both menus, the idea is to change, to adjust them from time to time, according to the season availability of products – an asset that guarantees the absolute freshness and quality of all the proposals. Both tasting menus are a surprise, and the only guarantee that the Chef gives us is that there will always be, with greater or lesser variation, some mandatory classics…
What does not change is the Kitchen Seat experience, which Arnaldo Azevedo continues to offer to anyone who wants to enjoy, exclusively, the privilege of his cuisine and his presence. In this experience for two people, guests sit facing the Vila Foz kitchen, in the company of the Chef, at a counter from which they can watch him in action, preparing the dishes that will be served to them. And with the dishes, the Chef also serves stories, explanations and curiosities, in a dialogue that takes place at the pace of the gastronomic moments that follow one another – always, of course, exquisitely paired with the recommended wines.
Arnaldo Azevedo, the Chef for whom gastronomy is like a jigsaw puzzle, in which starting from a certain element (a product, an idea, a memory), one begins to shape, to add, to explore, in a creative and dynamic process that leads to the final result. In this process of putting all the pieces together, a word for the importance of his dedicated and committed team, fundamental and present at all stages, but also a word of recognition to the suppliers, with whom it is essential to build relationships of proximity and trust and which are also essential and inspiring throughout the journey.
A Chef is made up of acquired experiences, of travels, of knowledge and flavors experienced throughout a lifetime. And of a lot of research, a lot of study – like, after all, in all creative work, in which a small part is inspiration and all the rest is work, plenty of work.
And what changed after the Michelin star? Not much, just an even greater sense of responsibility to provide an outstanding and differentiating experience for those arriving, as expectations are even higher. For Arnaldo Azevedo, his role is to create a concept and magic around a meal, in order to ensure that those who have the experience take something very special with them and keep the memory of the moment forever.
Arnaldo Azevedo, a Chef who puts a lot of portugality in his proposals, both for the products he uses and for the memories that his flavors rescue. A Chef, who, regarding the future, simply says that the objective is to try to improve every day, in the certainty that he and his team are on the right path and doing their best. The motto is to always do more and better and, surely, whatever has to happen, will happen.