Who is Alex Atala, the Brazilian chef who serves ants

Of Brazilian origins, Alex Atala is an eclectic and exuberant chef who offers dishes with ingredients taken from the Amazon rainforest including ants.

With his curious nickname, the Brazilian chef Alex Atala gradually made himself known throughout the world until he obtained outstanding results, such as due to Michelin. But what’s so special about her cooking? Well, into first the use of insects but also the constant search for local raw materials to be exploited. Let’s get to know this figure so out of line better.

Star dish
Star dish

Who is Alex Atala

Milad Alexandre Mack Atala was born in São Paulo, Brazil on June 3, 1968 (he is of the zodiac sign of Gemini) to Palestinian parents of Irish descent. He spent most of his adolescence in the city fascinated by the punk rock culture. In fact, the idea of ​​becoming a chef wasn’t even contemplated, but once he arrived in Europe, he decided to enroll in one cooking schooleither to obtain a visa, or to start working and maintain yourself.

His first approach to European cuisine, especially Italian, French and Spanish, was not the best to the point of stating: “The first time I ate caviar, truffles and foie-gras I didn’t like them. And I thought: if they enjoy these things here in Europe, who knows what can come out using the unique ingredients that we have in our Amazon rainforest”. So he decides to return to his homeland with a knowledge and techniques really vast but to apply it to local ingredients.

The two Michelin stars, the recognition as fourth best restaurant in the world dal S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants as well as numerous other awards have brought his restaurant to the attention of many. The DOM (God the Greatest) it also encompasses the meaning of home, home of modern Brazilian gastronomic cuisine.

Alex Atala between biodiversity, sustainability and… recipes with ants

Alex Atala’s recipes are not what you expect from a beach restaurant in São Paulo. Here, it chef who goes shopping in the Amazon, transforms and ennobles i indigenous products using techniques learned in his travels in Europe.

The result is something that had never been seen until 1999, when the DOM opened its doors. The menu contains all the flavors of the lung of the world, the Amazon forest: açaí bowl, narrator (a root used in traditional medicine), guavaan herb that numbs the lips and tongue, the new (a fruit similar to cashews), the cupuaçu (which looks like a coconut) and many more. Between main courses instead fettuccine with heart of palm butter and sage, sea snails with wakame and mandarin foam and Amazonian ants served with sea urchins.

Yes, because what makes his cuisine so special is theuse of insects, to be precise, ants. His first encounter with this unusual ingredient took place thanks to a cook who presented him with tucupi sauce (derived from wild cassava) with lots of ants inside. Overcoming the initial reticence, he discovers a taste similar to that of ginger and lemongrass and immediately decides to propose it again in his restaurant. A choice that does not seem unfortunate considering that in fact the green light has also been given for the use of cricket powder on the European market.

3 curiosities about Alex Atala

– Alex led one tv show on a Brazilian broadcaster. He was also the protagonist of an episode of the second season of Chef’s Table are Netflix.

– Alex Atala is married with Marcia Lagos and from the marriage two were born childrenJoan and Tomas.

– Just a look at his Instagram profile to realize how eclectic and out of line this chef is.

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