Alex Atala awarded the Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 09.24.21Brazil’s Alex Atala has been awarded the Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award  for Latin America for 2014. Atala will be presented with the award at the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony, which takes place on 3 September 2014 in Lima, Peru.

With his ground-breaking D.O.M. restaurant in São Paulo, Alex Atala has helped put his country’s cuisine on the global gastronomic map and simultaneously changed the way food is served at establishments across Brazil.

Atala’s ultimate aim for the restaurant, which opened in 1999, was to change the history of modern Brazilian cuisine by embracing and refining traditional family dishes that were hitherto considered too homely for fine dining – and he has succeeded. As a result of a pioneering approach to the nation’s bounty, indigenous produce such as acai, pupunha and cupuaçu are now celebrated in high-reaching restaurants and are beginning to creep into the kitchens of the US, Europe and beyond. Moreover, the club-DJ-turned-chef has played an important role in discovering and championing forgotten and lost ingredients through expeditions into the Amazon, aided by scientists and anthropologists.

Atala is the epitome of the modern chef: his cooking embraces new techniques and creativity, while retaining a deep-rooted cultural identity. As a result he has become an inspiration for chefs not just in Latin America, but across the world.

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Over 150,000 visit the Brazil and World Cup guide sites

150000A big thank you to all 150,000 plus people who have visited World Cup: The Guide and Brazil: The Guide over the last few months. We hit the 150,000 target on 3 June 2014 and could now fill the Maracanã twice over; or just the once going by the stadium’s capacity for the 1950 final. We do hope that at least some of you will have found the sites helpful and worthwhile.

If you need text versions of the sites when travelling or are off-line, we have produced two low cost Kindle versions that are available around the world from the respective Amazon sites.

Guide covers

Tickets go on sale for the Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix

InterlagosTickets have gone on sale for the 2014 Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix that takes place on Sunday, 9 November at the Interlagos circuit in São Paulo and which will be the penultimate race of the 2014 season that ends in Abu Dhabi on 23 November.

Three day Early Bird weekend passes start from as low as US$228.90 for Grandstand G all the way up to US$5,230.00 for the Premium Paddock Club.

To book direct CLICK HERE

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Brazil: The Guide launches a Kindle text version for use off-line

Brazil CoverTo help to satisfy the demand of people travelling to Brazil who would like to have the information on www.braziltheguide.com to hand, even when the are off-line, we have published a text only Kindle version of the guide that can be purchased globally from Amazon.

In the UK the guide sells for just £2.58. To access UK Amazon CLICK HERE

It is at a similar low price on Amazon stores around the world. For links to all the various global stores CLICK HERE

New international terminal opens at São Paulo Guarulhos Airport

SP T3The new international Terminal 3 has opened at São Paulo’s main Guarulhos Airport that is located close to Arena de São Paulo where the opening game of the 2014 World Cup will take place on 12 June.

The first airlines to move into the new 12 million capacity terminal – that has 20 gates – were TAP and Lufthansa on 12 May. They were to be followed by six further international carriers in the coming three weeks.

After the World Cup another 17 companies will move into the new terminal with the Brazilian carrier, TAM, the last to move in September 2014. At that point, further modernisation will take place at terminals One and Two.

By 2022 the entire airport is expected to have doubled its current annual capacity to 60 million passengers.

Plenty of spare hotel capacity in São Paulo for the World Cup

CENTRO EMPRESARIAL NAÇÕES UNIDASFootball fans looking for a hotel room to stay in during the World Cup should look in São Paulo, according to a report from the Forum de Operadores Hoteleiros do Brasil (FOHB), an organisation that represents the big hotel chains that control over 70% of all hotel rooms in Brazil.

According to FOHB as of the end of April only 24% of the rooms in São Paulo have been sold for the period of the World Cup, this compares with 87% sold in Rio de Janeiro.

Occupancy figures for Curitiba and Salvador for the period of the World Cup are respectively 44% and 57%.

Prices have also been falling since FIFA’s MatchService, started handing rooms back to the market. Studies suggest prices fell as much as 43% in Rio and 34% in São Paulo and Salvador for certain match days.

São Paulo has the world’s best female chef: Helena Rizzo

Helena RizzoHelena Rizzo, the owner and head chef of Mani in São Paulo’s Jardim Paulistano district, has been elected the best female chef in the world by Veuve Clicquot and Restaurant magazine. Previous winners have all been based in Europe.

According to Restaurant, it seems as if Helena Rizzo’s journey to the top of the international restaurant game has only just begun. Yet the pinnacle is already in sight, they note, with two major awards in as many years and a restaurant that is steadily moving up The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Rizzo was last year handed the award for Best Female Chef at the inaugural Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants and this year sees her achieve the same honour on the global stage, an extraordinary achievement for someone still only in her mid-30s.

Her restaurant, Mani, marries traditional Brazilian ingredients and culinary philosophies with modern technique and a dash of international influence, from Spain and Italy in particular. This results in wildly exciting but accessible food: diners here loosen their metaphorical ties and tuck into sticky skewers of octopus with confit potatoes and sweet paprika; heady cachaça-steamed shrimp; and peach palm and pumpkin tortelli.

The Brazilian-born cook’s ability to reconcile a respect for tradition with contemporary techniques and evolution in cuisine is part raw talent and part experience. Since the very beginning of her professional journey Rizzo sought to work under chefs that shared her broad and adaptive culinary outlook. After turning her back on a career in modelling and – latterly – her training as an architect, Rizzo learned her craft under some of São Paulo’s most influential chefs including Emmanuel Bassoleil, Luciano Boseggia and Neka Menna Barreto.

After a brief stint running the kitchen of the city’s Na Mata Café, the young Rizzo embarked on a culinary grand tour around Italy and Spain that culminated at seminal Girona restaurant El Celler de Can Roca. It was here that she met her future husband, the Spaniard Daniel Redondo. The pair opened Mani in 2006 and continue to run the kitchen (and indeed the rest of the restaurant) as a partnership. This highly unusual approach clearly works: Rizzo’s delicate, openly feminine style is allowed to shine through, making Mani one of the very best restaurants in Latin America – led by the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef.

The World’s Best Restaurants

Date of the 2014 Brazilian Grand Prix changed

Formula One racing’s governing body, the FIA, has published a revised calendar for the 2014 world championship following a meeting of its World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

The season will kick off in Australia on 16 March  and conclude in Abu Dhabi on 23 November. The two new races – in Austria and Russia – will be held on June 22 and October 12 respectively.

The Brazilian Grand Prix in São Paulo, that had been scheduled to close the season on 30 November, will now take place on 9 November and be the second last of the season.

British Airways increases flights from London to São Paulo

British_Airways_Boeing_747-400_leaving_townBritish Airways is to increase its direct weekly services to-and-from London’s Heathrow Airport and São Paulo on 1 June 2014 from seven to ten using 747-400s (photo). British Airways also offers a daily service between London and Rio de Janeiro.

The other airline offering direct non-stop service between London and São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is TAM Airlines from Brazil.

As of 1 April 2014 both airlines will be members of oneWorld.