D. O. M, a unique restaurant in São Paulo, Brazil, has been shaking up the culinary world. Founded by renowned chef, Alex Atala, the dishes are sourced from the traditional ingredients of Brazil, in particular the Amazon. Think ingredients such as the Amazonian pirarucu fish, the pale, pounded flour of the manioc root, lime green murupi chillis, native mushrooms, even insects such as the lemongrass-flavored sauva ant. D. O. M is currently ranked number six in the world.
On his menu, Atala strives to capture and preserve Brazil’s traditional cuisine. He combines “European techniques with indigenous produce,” according to a recent profile in The Guardian, and through this combination he is hauling his national dishes on to an international stage. To preserve the traditions that he embraces, Atala and other Brazilian chefs cofounded an institute, ATÁ. The institute’s work is informed by the lofty ideals of a manifesto, available online in both English and Baniwa, a language spoken by natives of the Amazon. It reads:
THE RELATION BETWEEN MAN AND FOOD
MUST BE REVISED.
WE NEED TO BRING CLOSER KNOWLEDGE AND EATING
EATING AND COOKING, COOKING AND PRODUCING,
PRODUCING AND NATURE,
WORKING IN THE WHOLE VALUE CHAIN,
AIMING TO STRENGTH THE TERRITORIES
FROM THEIR BIODIVERSITY, AGRODIVERSITY
AND SOCIODIVERSITY, TO ENSURE
GOOD FOOD TO ALL AND TO THE ENVIRONMENT.
Atala’s restaurant is more than a restaurant—it is a celebration, an anthem. “The difference between being good, very good, and exceptional as a cook is in having the flavors in your memory,” he says.