Chef João Oliveira: one of the best-known chefs in Portugal
- 1 * at Vista in Algarve, Portugal
- Chef de L’ Avenir 2019
- Cook “Sustainable Portugal”
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João Oliveira was born in Valongo (Portugal) in 1986 and started his gastronomic career at Largo do Paço, in Casa da Calçada. When Ricardo Costa joined the restaurant in Amarante, João Oliveira cemented his career, becoming the chef’s right-hand man who led the famous Casa da Calçada destination between 2006 and 2010. The opening of The Yeatman was a boost for Ricardo Costa, but also for João Oliveira, who chose to follow the chef to Vila Nova de Gaia. It was four years at The Yeatman, in which they won a star in the very first year.
In 2014, João wanted to take on new challenges. The proposals kept adding up, especially after a seasonal experience at the two-star Vila Joya in the Algarve. Gonçalo Narciso dos Santos, director of the Bela Vista Hotel & Spa, contacted João, daring him to carve a new path for VISTA, open since 2011.
In 2015, João Oliveira moved to Portimão in charge of setting up a project from scratch, hiring a completely new kitchen and dining room team. An innovative concept was necessary.
The initial plan was to build a solid house — researching the best products, building relationships with suppliers, and working on consistency. After various changes, Vista shaped its own language, and currently, there are only two menus, VISTA and EARTH. João now has his own voice, a unique language; he can risk putting non-grata species on the menu, like fish discarded in trawler fishing.
The dedication and resilience paid off at the end of 2017 when, at just 30 years old, VISTA earned its first Michelin star.
In 2018, João Oliveira received the Man of the Year Gourmet distinction from GQ and, a year later, was awarded the prestigious Chef de L’Avenir by the International Academy of Gastronomy.
Menu inspired by national and Mediterranean cuisine, with respect for the original flavours and the freshness of the ingredients. Highlight for the fish on their coast, not forgetting about the values of sustainability.
Since 2018, he has implemented a movement governed by the sustainability of the ingredients used, from its creation to its gathering, which he called “sustainable Portugal”. It consists of a carbs- and gluten-free menu, showing respect for the flavours and producers, with 95 % of ingredients of Portuguese origin, in a perfect symbiosis between land and sea.