FOgO; Itinerant Food Culture
Brazil & the Mediterranean
FOgO is an initiative founded by two Brazilian ex-pats whose aim is to promote the relatively unknown indigenous cuisine of their home land within Spain and other Mediterranean countries. A cultural and gastronomic exchange programme between Brazil and the Mediterranean directed by the young chef João Alcântara and ex-Barca footballer Dani Alves. The sporting connection gives the project another dimension, the importance of nutrition and how healthy food and high gastronomy are not mutually exclusive concepts. Operating under the umbrella of the Grupo Alquimia the project is composed of four different strands; itinerant gastronomic dinners, home chef cooking service, gastronomic workshops and a catering service.
Rather than occupying a physical location then, the project is based on an itinerant approach where the food and the experience travel to the diner, a one-on-one proselytising so to speak. Not just in terms of a specific national cuisine but a way of understanding food with an emphasis on vegetables and fruits, with an organic approach to nutrition. João Alcântara and his team travel to private homes or businesses to cook for an event or a private gathering which is served there and then.
Dani Alves with João Alcântara, founders of FOgO, the Brazilian cuisine travelling cuisine project
Tapioca in squid ink, olive oil caviar and truffle honey
“The main objective of travelling catering service is to surprise. For each we serve a specific tasting menu, which diners will be unfamiliar with. I'm determined to take risks, to provoke, to play.”
Glazed scallops, textures yuca, red wine pearls and coffee
Brazil’s cuisine is as rich and delectable as it is unknown beyond its borders. As with other South American cultures the foundation of Brazilian cuisine is the cross pollination of concepts and ideas based on the influence of multiple factors and influences. There are three main strands behind its evolution: the indigenous tribes, Africans and Europeans.
Leek and turnip carbonara
What exactly is Brazilian cuisine? The FOgO team describe the different influences and ingredients;
Brazil’s indigenous food is based on ingredients such as cassava (an essential part of all current cuisine of the country), fruits and vegetables, game, fish, Maoz, potato and garden vegetables. Some tribes would also eat ants. Meat dishes used to be prepared in underground ovens; then dried for preservation: that’s how obtained the moquém. It was also common practice to wrap meat in a layer of leaves. Indigenous traditions are reinterpreted today with dishes like tacacá, tucupí (both cooked juice from cassava) or canjica (millet paste with milk, sugar and cinnamon).
African slaves introduced their taste for rice, beans (feijão), couscous, palm oil (or dendê oil), tuber type vegetables, bananas, coconut milk or pimenta malagueta basic ingredients today in any brasilea pantry. Both pro indigenous African tradiución as is often accompany savory dishes such as feijoada and meats fruits like orange.
Brandade of cod and feijoada
During the colonial period the Portuguese brought their custom of drinking fruit juices and as well as bring alcoholic beverages such as the infamous cachaza. After that the immigrants that most influenced Brazilian food were the Italians who brought their passion for pasta, pizza, risotto and polenta.
Cupcake de caipirhina
The current interest in all things Latin American related in terms of food makes this a good time to introduce Brazilian food to a wider audience in Spain, as João Alcântara explains,"If the product can be found in nature then Brazil is the world's largest culinary power. We believe the time for Brazilian cuisine is now."
Sweet country garden
João Alcântara (Vitória, Brasil 1984) was brought up in Rio de Janeiro, after studying marketing originally he subsequently dedicated his career to professional cooking. Working as a personal chef to several high profile football players he become well known through the well known T.V. programme 'Homens Gourmet' on FOX Brasil. In 2011 Alcântara moved to Barcelona where he trained with Rafa Peña at the renowned Gresca. From there he met Dani Alves for whom he became his personal chef before starting this joint venture.