Photo © Carol Sachs
 

The Model-Turned-Culinary-Artist Heats Up Sao Paolo Restaurant Maní

Helena Rizzo is one of the best chefs in Brazil, period. But she came to the profession via an unlikely route, studying architecture in her youth and then working as a model before settling on a culinary career at the age of 18. “Ever since I was a child I loved to eat and to experience new flavors and aromas,” she says. Like supermodel Gisele Bündchen, Rizzo is every inch the charming sulista (or southern Brazilian woman), and has a gastronomic CV to match her sun-kissed looks: in her early career she worked in many top restaurants in Brazil, including Fasano and Emmanuel Bassoleil, before moving to Europe and the kitchens of Italy’s La Torre and Sadler, and Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca.
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(I miss São Paulo! So I get excited when I discover something that makes me proud of my native city.)