Alex Atala

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When Alex Atala opened his restaurant D.O.M. in 1999, he made a decision that was to change the history of modern Brazilian cuisine.

Up until then, many restaurants in his home city of Sao Paulo were more French or Italian and impervious to the nation’s indigenous ingredients.

Traditional family dishes were considered too homely to be served on a fine dining basis and restrained to street food. Yet for years in other countries like Spain, Italy and France, classic home cooking had been refined and was being served in top gastronomic restaurants.

Atala wanted to change the way his nation was considered on a plate and believed ingredients like acai, pupunha or cupuacu to be the very essence of Brazil and their uniqueness should be celebrated.

“We needed a pride in our cuisine. The way the Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos was proud of our music” Atala said.

Having trained in Europe at the École Hôtelière de Namur in Belgium, then in some of finest Michelin restaurants in Italy and France, he realised, without ready access to the supply of quality ingredients, he would never be able to truly translate European food on a gastronomic level back in Brazil.

What he did believe was that he could take the tastes and flavours of his own country and bring the very best of Brazilian ingredients to a fine dining restaurant.

In 1999, he opened D.O.M. (from the Latin, Deo Optimo Maximo – God is Great and Exceeding – good in his wisdom and exceeding in his kindness) in Sao Paulo, not only to create an exceptional gastronomic experience using local ingredients, but one that captured the flavours, colours, textures and even smells of what it was to eat in Brazil.

In essence, Atala applied European techniques to Brazilian ingredients creating anything up to 20 course tasting menus that included for example- Palm Heart Fettuccine; Pirarucu with Tucupi; and Banana Ravioli with Passion Fruit Sauce and Tangerine Sorbet.

D.O.M was simply what Brazil tasted like.

It soon became the most popular restaurant in the city with 

When Alex Atala opened his restaurant D.O.M. in 1999, he made a decision that was to change the history of modern Brazilian cuisine.

Up until then, many restaurants in his home city of Sao Paulo were more French or Italian and impervious to the nation’s indigenous ingredients.

Traditional family dishes were considered too homely to be served on a fine dining basis and restrained to street food. Yet for years in other countries like Spain, Italy and France, classic home cooking had been refined and was being served in top gastronomic restaurants.

Atala wanted to change the way his nation was considered on a plate and believed ingredients like acai, pupunha or cupuacu to be the very essence of Brazil and their uniqueness should be celebrated.

“We needed a pride in our cuisine. The way the Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos was proud of our music” Atala said.

Having trained in Europe at the École Hôtelière de Namur in Belgium, then in some of finest Michelin restaurants in Italy and France, he realised, without ready access to the supply of quality ingredients, he would never be able to truly translate European food on a gastronomic level back in Brazil.

What he did believe was that he could take the tastes and flavours of his own country and bring the very best of Brazilian ingredients to a fine dining restaurant.

In 1999, he opened D.O.M. (from the Latin, Deo Optimo Maximo – God is Great and Exceeding – good in his wisdom and exceeding in his kindness) in Sao Paulo, not only to create an exceptional gastronomic experience using local ingredients, but one that captured the flavours, colours, textures and even smells of what it was to eat in Brazil.

In essence, Atala applied European techniques to Brazilian ingredients creating anything up to 20 course tasting menus that included for example- Palm Heart Fettuccine; Pirarucu with Tucupi; and Banana Ravioli with Passion Fruit Sauce and Tangerine Sorbet.

D.O.M was simply what Brazil tasted like.

It soon became the most popular restaurant in the city with