Curitiba is the most inhabited city in southern Brazil. More than 1.8 million inhabitants populate this corner where the Manu restaurant is located -who has a little brother in New York, Ella-. It belongs to the state of Paraná, bordering São Paulo to the north, the Atlantic to the east and the Iguazú River to the south. Orchard, sea and countryside mark the pulse of the kitchen of its chef, Manu Buffara, an activist committed to tradition and the future and against waste.
The Manu chef demanded, during her participation in Féminas 2022, the International Congress of Gastronomy, Women and Rural Environment held this week in Asturias, a greater role for producers and communities that make it possible to live a gastronomic experience.
«I cook to change my city, my community, but the most important thing is that I cook for myself, to pass on my story -which is mine- through my dishes. My letter is a stroytelling of my territory, of my tradition », she exposed. At the same time, the chef herself stressed the importance of always knowing where it comes from. «Without the kitchen of the past, we cannot develop the kitchen of the future. You have to be proud of your own origins », she said.
You talk about the kitchen as a 'love relationship', how do you take care of it?
Cooking is an act of self-love, a therapy that makes me feel fulfilled. There is love in dedicating ourselves to selecting the ingredients, preparing the dishes, ordering and organizing the restaurant and leaving it ready to receive those who have chosen us to live the Manu experience that night.
Love and pride of belonging, do you see in rural areas an engine to achieve global change?
All of us, as chefs, must raise our voices in defense of rural environments as generators of life and wealth through gastronomy.
Another word you repeat in your speech is 'respect'.
Cooking for me is an expression of love, knowledge, technique, authenticity and respect. I respect the product, the producer, the cook, my apron and my family.
The green world marks your kitchen.
My relationship with vegetables is deep, they are my source of inspiration. I believe that we can change the diet of a nation with small actions that begin on the ground and within our homes.
Would you say that your kitchen helps to change the lives of the people around you?
I believe that Manu was a transforming agent. With it we change communities, people, we create projects, institutes, we fight against hunger... I believe that we can change a nation with small actions and without a doubt we will change the world through food.
You were considered an 'emerging talent' already in 2018. What are the awards for you?
They give you a stage and a microphone that we have to use to get attention. When you are a reference, you must transmit messages that inspire more people.
Why New York?
I love challenges. I want to build Ella and for the relationship between the rural and the urban to work well.