It's bad enough so few people outside Brazil know much about the country's cuisine. But Alex Atala finds it particularly galling that even at home it rarely gets the respect it deserves.
"We are so proud of our soccer, our models, our music, our graffiti artists. Why is no one excited about Brazilian food?" the nation's No. 1 chef — and the man behind Sao Paulo-based D.O.M., one of the top-ranked restaurants in the world — said in a recent telephone interview. "Brazilian food is so amazingly diverse, and we have to celebrate that."
A desire to correct this spurred him to write "D.O.M.: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients," a sumptuous new cookbook that Atala hopes will propel Brazilian food onto the world's culinary stage. And once foreigners wake up to Brazilian food, Atala reasons, Brazilians themselves might just give their own, long-neglected culinary legacy its due.
Atala acknowledges that many of the ingredients used in the book are not readily available even in most Brazilian supermarkets, let alone in the United States, Australia or Britain — the cookbook's target markets. But that's beside the point, he insists.