Its pão de queijo – cheese buns shaped with the flour of tapioca – run aficionados, who flock to his microphone cosy restaurant of the rue Saint-Denis (IIe). The chief brazilian Rafael Gomes, who opened Itacoa last spring, has won the télécrochet culinary MasterChef Professional Brazil 2018 , the equivalent of our Top Chef . The Carioca has established itself among about 80.000 registered, 26 selected and 14 competing chefs. At the end of two months of trial, he won with a menu “without borders”, during a final broadcast live on 11 December, in front of millions of viewers on the chain brazilian Band. He left with a further 200,000 reais (about 47,000€) and a equipped kitchen by Tramontina.

Rafael Gomes had left very young Brazil for work in the four corners of the globe, before putting his bags in Paris for nearly four years. He had not had since little opportunity of visiting his native country. “It was a real challenge back in my country where I was absolutely not known to me to confront leaders who already had their public” details the winner.

A tribute to his Brazil natal Itacoa (Paris IIe). Edouard Nguyen

At 34 years old, the globe-trotting chef is primarily formed in the United States (Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park) before backpacking in Alaska, in Asia and in Latin America. He then joined the argentine chef Mauro Colagreco, two-star Mirazur (Menton). This last, after having done work in his brigade for a few years, he confides in 2015 to the kitchens of a Big Heart (Paris IVe). Restaurant where it will remain until you open Itacoa with his partner Casey Laulala, rugby player in new zealand former Racing.

Itacoa is open to the brunch (fruit juices cold-pressed, specialty coffee, granola), lunch and dinner (the wine kind), with healthy recipes, in season, which draws in influences (trout Banka smoke, small spelt from Haute-Provence, japanese radish, curry Madras, burrata from Puglia, ginger…) and the winks auriverde (acai bowl). We settled there, worn by a B. O. of surfers, on high tables in a decoration throughout, combining shelves with green crates filled with fruits and vegetables, and lots of raw wood. A little piece of Brazil in the heart of the capital.

Itacoa. 185, rue Saint-Denis (IIe). Tel.: 09 50 48 35 78. Everyday sf dim. (din.), lun. and mar. Card: 20-40 €.

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