Chef George Mendes makes Bacalhau a Bras!
Chef Mendes has risen to fame in the last few years receiving a Michelin Star in 2011 and again in 2012.
In 2011 he won the title of “Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef New York”, and has been featured on many TV programs including Top Chef, The Today Show, and featured in many media outlets such as these listed below.
My husband and I had the pleasure of dining at Chef George Mendes’s Aldea restaurant in New York City last year. It was a cold night in February when took a quick 15 minute cab ride and arrived at a fully booked restaurant at 9 pm.
Luckily there were two seats 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. 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.
Yet, Aldea’s kitchen 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 sat in the first two seats)
Here’s what we ate that night – a delicious meal of taste tempting – “SHRIMP ALHINHO” in a garlic sauce
TRIPE “A MODA PORTUGUESA” – prepared with tomato, white beans, chorizo, and a quail egg
“SEA SALTED CHATHAM COD ” – with forbidden black rice, Iberian chorizo, coriander-saffron broth
“SPANISH OCTOPUS – A LA PLANCHA”– a squid ink-citrus purée, chick pea stew, leek ash
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!