Chef George Mendes of Aldea Restaurant, New York City, has risen to fame in the last few years receiving a Michelin Star in 2011 and again in 2012. He has written his first cook book titled; My Portugal/Recipes and Stories which includes 125 recipes from traditional to modern versions of the classic Portuguese dishes. The book is available on Amazon for per-ordering with an October 7,2014 launch date. Read about his discovery of his roots and research for his first cook book on his recent trip to Portugal.
Amazon review: In My Portugal, George Mendes, chef and owner of Michelin-starred Aldea, introduces us to the world of Portuguese cuisine, offering 125 mouthwatering recipes that showcase the wide range of dishes that come from this coastal country. The collection balances Mendes’s popular restaurant recipes, such as his signature Duck Rice and Garlic Seared Shrimp, with his takes on classic Portuguese dishes, such as Salt, Cod, Potato, and Egg Casserole; Mozambique Shrimp and Okra with Piri Piri; Eggs Baked with Peas, Linguiça, and Bacon; Butter Cookies; and more. His stories illustrate the wealth of culinary resources in Portugal—fresh seafood, savory meats, and crisp vegetables. With delicious recipes and stunning photographs of the country, My Portugal takes the reader on an unforgettable journey. credits: (amazon.com) Pre-order below.
In 2011 he won the title of “Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef New York”. Since then, Chef Mendes has been featured on many TV programs including Top Chef, The Today Show, and featured in many media outlets.
Here’s a recent interview by Food & Wine magazine March 27, 2014.
My husband and I had the pleasure of dining at Chef George Mendes’s Aldea restaurant in New York City a few years ago. It was a cold night in February when we took a quick 15 minute cab ride and arrived at a fully booked restaurant at 9 pm. Luckily there were two seats left with the kitchen view that seemed like they had been reserved just for the two of us. We had the pleasure of watching the Chef along with his talented and efficient staff preparing our meals.
I loved the view, since it was like watching one of the cooking shows I’d seen so many times on TV and I’d always wondered why the celebrity chefs made it look so effortless and so organized.
My many years of working in restaurant kitchens told me otherwise. Aldea’s kitchen however was calm and relaxing and everything flowed smoothly. There would be no shouting at sous chefs that night, no clanging of dishes or of pots and pans. There was no temperamental “Portuguese Chef” like so many that I had worked with in my career.
That day, a very creative and talented Michelin Star Chef prepared our meal. Our dinner, was prepared with the Chef’s passion for his Portuguese culinary roots, but with a modern, artistic version of the classics. We ate, we relaxed, and we enjoyed the wonder of it all!
We had mouthwatering, delicious meal including one of the chef’s signature dishes; “SHRIMP ALHINHO” in a garlic sauce. Although Chef Mendes was extremely busy with a booked house, his warm and friendly Portuguese hospitality shined through when we said hello to him. He took the time to came to our table where we talked about Aldea, and his upcoming ventures. The next time I saw the chef was on TV when he appeared as contestant on Top Chef. I’m looking forward to my next visit to NYC and to Aldea!
On June 10, 2014 – In honor of celebrating “Dia de Portugal” Portugal Day, Aldea will be having a guest chef event featuring 4 Portuguese Chefs/5 courses/ 5 wines at 7 pm $155. Call for reservations.
Featured chefs include: Chef George Mendes of Aldea, Chef Rui Correia, of Douro Restaurant in Greenwich, Connecticut, Chef David Santos of Louro restaurant in New York City, and Chef Pedr Lemos of restaurant Homónimo Porto, Portugal.
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