After serving as executive chef in the kitchens of President Cardoso, Roberta Sudbrack opened her own restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, which quickly became a must-visit destination for lovers of modern brasileira cuisine. Her cooking blends classic and modern influences with great technique and research into Brazil’s gastronomic heritage. At the Salone, Roberta will be the guest of two events: a dinner cooked with four of her Latin American colleagues and Italian chef Massimo Bottura, and a Theater of Taste where she will showcase her talent.
What is your culinary style?
I strive for a cuisine which is strongly characterized by its geographic context and current times: modern, Brazilian cuisine. Our goal is to serve the best, every day. I always look for what nature has to offer and I use the best ingredients to create my menu, which changes daily. Our cuisine follows the cycle of seasons and celebrates Brazilian tastes. We give a lot of importance to the ritual, precision and technique that lies behind a dish. What we propose is in fact a neutral space, but also a fusion between innovation and tradition. That’s why we do not see RS as a mere restaurant – a place where food and drinks are sold – but rather as a place where guests can have unique taste experiences.
Did you know about Slow Food and the Terra Madre network? What do you think of our work?
I can see great movement in today’s world cuisine and every event which attempts to share the exceptional work done by chefs is a step forward. Slow Food and Terra Madre work with great competence and their events and initiatives have managed to put food exactly where it belongs: next to producers, maintaining the link between past and future and preserving family traditions.
You are Brazil’s most famous female chef. What is the secret of your success?
Hard work, concentration and listening carefully to my deepest instincts.
What is your first food memory?
My grandmother’s chicken with polenta. I am very grateful to her for cooking it for me; it is a dish that I still find moving.
How important was the daily food you ate in your childhood for your professional development?
My grandmother’s food has influenced me in every possible way. My ideas, my research, my dreams… all that supports me in my daily work comes from her and our time together when I was a child.
Do you think your careful consideration of food can help your guests develop a deeper respect for food and also to avoid waste?
Sure! I truly hope that my work is an inspiration to others. I do my best in my presentations to convey this message, and I work hard every day to put the best ideas into my creations.
Do you think that gastronomy can help this world through current crises?
Cooking means giving. When you cook a dish, your heart is a key ingredient, just like your view of the world and what is around you. So the answer is yes. Gastronomy can help the world, teaching a simple but key concept: being alive in today’s world means living in a community, sharing, listening and speaking up every day. Food is a blessing, it’s the wealth that the earth gives us and allows us to keep on living. We must treat the earth with respect and thus learn to treat with respect our fellow men and women too.
By Elisa Virgillito