Considered one of the great Portuguese Chefs, José Avillez stands out because of his enterprising spirit and his willingness to go one step further.
He currently has five restaurants in Lisbon and one in Oporto, which, while offering different culinary experiences, all express his enormous passion for cooking. At his Belcanto restaurant, awarded a Michelin star within a year of opening, one can enjoy new Portuguese cuisine in a sophisticated atmosphere that still provides some of the former romance of the Chiado district. This is the style that truly defines José Avillez and expresses the course of his creativity.
To José Avillez, cooking has always been a passion. Yet, it was only in this senior year of the degree in Business Communication that he decided to be a Chef. In that same year, he participated in individual study sessions with Maria de Lurdes Modesto and took a traineeship in the kitchen of Antoine Westerman, at Fortaleza do Guincho. After finishing his degree, he accomplished his education by taking several trips, training courses, traineeships and professional experiences, namely his work with José Bento dos Santos as Gastronomy Professional at Quinta do Monte D'Oiro, the training at Alain Ducasse's school and the traineeship at Eric Frechon's kitchen, at the Bristol Hotel, which now has three Michelin stars. But it was the traineeship at El Bulli, with Ferran Adrià that really changed his career. In 2008 he was invited to the post of Head Chef of the Tavares restaurant, where in little more than a year he was awarded a Michelin star. At the beginning of 2011 he left the Tavares restaurant in order to open his restaurants. José Avillez also heads the take-away service JA at Home.
José Avillez is the author of various highly successful books, including "Um Chef em sua casa" (A Chef in your home), "Petiscar com Estilo" (Snacking in Style) and “Cantinho do Avillez – As Receitas” (Cantinho de Avillez – The Recipes). José Avillez has also contributed to countless Portuguese and foreign books. Together with José Bento dos Santos and the Quinta do Monte D'Oiro vineyard he launched JA wines, bearing his signature: Red, White and Rosé. José Avillez also writes and presents the cookery program JA at the stove, which was launched in 2012. This highly successful program is broadcast on the SIC Mulher channel and is in its third series.
Describe your culinary philosophy in 4 words...
Flavor (first), (high quality) products, technique, textures.
What is your greatest inspiration?
For me, my greatest inspiration comes from traditional Portuguese cuisine. At Belcanto we offer revisited Portuguese cuisine with contemporary inspiration, betting on top quality ingredients and the accuracy of preparation.
If you could take a plane ride to any restaurant in the world, just for one meal, where would you go?
That is a very difficult question. There are some many restaurants where I would go just for a meal. I could go around the world in 80 days just to eat.
What four things would you take to a desert island?
I would take a knife, some matches, high quality Portuguese olive oil and sea salt.
- Gold Fork, 2014 | Belcanto | The Guide Boa Cama Boa Mesa
- Chef of the Year, 2014 | The Guide Boa Cama Boa Mesa
- Repsol Three Suns, 2014 | Belcanto | Guia Repsol 2014
- Restaurant Revelation, 2012 | Belcanto | The Guide Boa Cama Boa Mesa
- Chef of the Year, 2011 | WINE - A Essência do Vinho
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