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Rio restaurant cooks up for the Olympics


08-03-2016 18:51 BJT

While Rio de Janeiro gears up for the Olympic Games opening ceremony on Saturday, restaurants in the city are preparing for a rush of hungry visitors.

The city has a cornecopia of gourmet restaurants to chose from. One eaterie is attracting attention thanks to its relaxed style and quirky food presentation.

It's an unusual centrepiece but then this is an unusal restaurant.

Rio's Lasai restaurant recently received the "highest new entry award" in Latin America's 50 best restaurants 2015 awards.


Rio's Lasai restaurant recently received the "highest new entry award" in Latin America's 50 best restaurants 2015 awards.

The restaurant only serves dinner and there are two menu options. In one clients can chose their dishes. The other offers nine options in three stages, aperitifs, main courses and deserts.

One of the most popular main courses is a white taro cream with coconut milk with a free range chicken yolk, produced in Rafa's own farm in the outskirts of Rio, flavoured with grounded jerked beef.

"I wouldn't say it's genuine Brazilian cuisine but it's a cuisine made in Brazil with Brazilian ingredients," said Luiza Fecarotta, food critic.

"It's a cuisine that Sao Paulo Food critic Josimar Mello has termed Bossa Nova Cuisine which incorporates influences from abroad, but shows a very intense use of local ingredients."

Three times per week Costa e Silva goes to Rio's organic street markets to search for his ingredients.

By 10 a.m. Costa e Silva is on his way to Lasai carrying his carefully chosen ingredients.

"I think this is the moment when he is most inspired, when he sees the produce since our menu is based on what we find here at the fairs," said Malena Cardile, Rafa's wife and business partner.

"He goes around thinking, talking to the farmers which give him information and from there Rafa starts thinking and creating plates for the week."

By late afternoon, Cardiel has taken up her post as head of the Lasai dining room while Costa e Silva is busy directing his team of nine cooks, many of them aspiring chefs from different corners of the world.

"We get a bunch of resumes from people all over the world and they do what I did when I was younger. They go around the world working and learning," said Rafa Costa E Silva, chef, Lasai Restaurant.

The chef claims he also learns from his pupils who come from places as far as Greece, Spain and France.

"It's true that Rafa's work is very interesting, because he doesn't process too much the ingredients and when the product goes to the plate it is alive, it is fresh, unprocessed. That adds value to his final work that reaches the dining room," said Paul Albert, cook.

Before desert, a table with three Brazilian cheeses and two rare fruit desserts. Followed by a special ice cream.

Or a different choice with peanut ice cream on sweet banana sauce plus tangerine cake, to sweeten the Rio de Janeiro Olympic experience.

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