Chef Onildo Rocha : the rising star of Brazilian cuisine
- Modern kitchen focused on the regional ingredients
- Part of the Bocuse D’Or committee in Brazil
- Awarded One of 10 best new restaurants in Brazil
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With over ten years of career, having studied in São Paulo and traveled to different destinations in the world in search of expanding his repertoire, Paraíba’s chef Onildo Rocha did not leave his roots aside when choosing to establish his bases in João Pessoa. In front of the Roccia Group, which includes the Restaurant Roccia, Roccia Bar, the catering and event space Casa Roccia and party services OR Concept, the chef is nowadays one of the main names in Northeastern gastronomy, being the main precursor of haute cuisine in Paraíba. He has also achieved recognition in the national gastronomic scene to the point of being part of the Bocuse D’Or committee in Brazil.
A carreer full of awards
With a notable trajectory in the national field, chef Onildo has been invited to take part in prominent events, such as cooking with great chefs, presenting lectures, or participating in important festivals. Over the last years, his presence has been included in main communication vehicles and also on-board magazines – in fact, just last September, Onildo had articles about his work in all of the brazilian companies’ on-board magazines. Recently, he has starred an episode AZUL on-board magazines, in AVIANCA videos and in October in the VIP Magazine as one of the 10 best restaurants in Brazil. In 2017, the Roccia Restaurant has won Best Northeastern Restaurant 2017 award at the Prazeres da Mesa award, as well as been picked as one of 10 best new restaurants in Brazil, on the VIP Magazine.
A strong background
Several years ago, Onildo was already an entrepreneur when he decided to switch the counter of his cafeteria for the School of Culinary Arts of chef Laurent Suaudeau. He felt that he needed to develop a different relationship with the pots and pans. He then graduated from the Anhembi-Morumbi University, and today, almost a decade later, he immerses himself in restaurants around the world, in order to find new sources of inspiration and research. Whether abroad or in Brazil, Onildo is eager for the new; a true searcher of ingredients that revolutionize his recipes.
Expert of the red rice of Paraíba
A true agricultural input enthusiast, the chef is today the main researcher of the red rice of Paraíba. Also known as ground rice, the ingredient has been cataloged by the Ark of Taste, a project of the International Slow Food Association that identifies, locates, describes and disseminates almost forgotten flavors that have been endangered with real potential and commercial potential.
“When I went deeper into the red rice, I discovered it was part of Slow Food Association. This made me even more convinced to promote his comeback to the Brazilian tables. The red rice is very rich in nutrients and flavor, much more than the white rice, which is the mostly used locally, ” says the chef.
In addition to red rice, Onildo values other typical ingredients, such as sweet potatoes, goat cheese and green beans. He also cultivates close relations with the producers of each one of them. When he leaves Paraíba to participate in many gastronomic events in Brazil and in the world, he makes sure to give other chefs the ingredients that have become his brand. Mr Dedé, one of the producers who became personal friends with the chef, even developed a suitable place for the growth of red rice.
“Mr. Dedé didn’t have the proper structure to cultivate rice. Just the other day, he surprised me by saying that he had prepared a flooded land so I would have my exclusive red rice cultivated with care. This proximity really allows me to have products of an incomparable origin; organic, fresh and with the constancy that I need, “reveals the chef.
With a modern kitchen focused on the regional ingredients, working within the philosophy of the “Armorial Movement”: this is the reason for advocating regional products, producers and culture, bringing the Northeastern essence packed in French methodology to the people’s plate.
“The restaurant has a new address on the Tambaú Beach, closer to the diversity of the public that we have reached. I’m calling this process of change “catch on our kitchen”, because i want to be more and more accessible to those who want to discover and appreciate our work. Beginning with the new ROCCIA KITCHEN, with a bold and contemporary architecture that simplifies the service and creates spaces of interaction between different slopes, which is a trend in the world”, says chef Onildo.
In addition to running his restaurant, catering and party counseling, Onildo is ahead of the Na Bagagem and Roccia Experience projects. The first one aims to spread the gastronomic potential of Paraíba through local tours (fairs, restaurants, producers, etc) in which the guests are opinion makers from all over the country. The idea is to present the high points of the gastronomy of Paraíba. The second projects, on the other hand, promotes the encounter of culinary cultures by hosting great chefs of the country to cook in his restaurant, bringing the haut cuisine and its exponents closer to Roccia’s clientele and gastronomy enthusiasts.