Chef Pedro Pena Bastos Whets Critics’ Appetites

Chef Pedro Pena Bastos Whets Critics’ Appetites

Last week, Restaurante Esporão’s chef was featured in two important publications. The international site, Food Republic, and the Portuguese blog, Mesa Marcada, visited our restaurant and interviewed Chef Pedro Pena Bastos.

Journalist Judy Cantor-Navas and Spanish artist David Navas talked to Pedro Pena Bastos about his career, the restaurant, gastronomy and the Alentejo. David Navas recorded the visit with a fantastic illustration (above), which shows three Portuguese chefs in their restaurants: Henrique Sá Pessoa in Alma, José Avillez in Belcanto and Pedro Pena Bastos in Restaurante Esporão.
The article also highlights the crusty bread and the aged butter inspired by the chef’s memories of his grandmother:
“My grandmother kept the butter out,” Pedro Pena Bastos explains. “After three or four days, it started to have a cheesy flavour. That fascinated me as a boy. My goal was to replicate it.”
manteiga azeda
In the Mesa Marcada article, Miguel Pires writes a more personal account of his experience at the restaurant. “One of the meals of the year at Esporão. Remember this name, you’ll be hearing it a lot: Pedro Pena Bastos.” is the title that serves as an introduction to the article that starts by talking about the Esporão chef’s career.

“I have been following what this young chef has been doing, ever since he moved to the Alentejo, a year and a half ago (…) Before Esporão, Pedro worked at top restaurants like Belcanto (Lisbon) or the Ledbury (London) – both with 2 Michelin stars – as well as a brief stint at Grémio Literário (as head chef) and one of his own projects, A Revolta do Palato, which was a type of “home chef” company that he and Teresa founded.”

pao e manteiga restaurante esporao
The photographs that the chef regularly posts caught the journalist’s eye and his curiosity led him to Reguengos de Monsaraz, to try the various dishes that he saw on the chef’s Instagram page.

“It’s true that, sometimes, looks can be deceiving and what appears attractive is disappointing when tasted. However, when a week or so ago I headed south, I had a feeling I was on the right track.”

Describing the meal, Miguel Pires begins by highlighting the bread and the “incredible” aged butter, just like the article in Food Republic. From the butter to the dishes, expectation was met and there was no lack of praise for the chef. “He demonstrates a maturity and confidence that is rare for a chef as young as 25. His cuisine is not disruptive, nor does it have to be – because Esporão is not exactly an underground wine producer. That said, his dishes demonstrate creativity, boldness, sensitivity and depth of flavour and, with all this combined, what remains is a harmony that almost always boasts a challenging touch”.

Read the articles here:

Meet the chefs behind Portugal’s Thriving Restaurant Scene, Part II‘, by , at Food Republic

Uma das Refeições do Ano no Esporão. Fixem este nome, ele vai dar que falar: Pedro Pena Bastos‘, by Miguel Pires, at Mesa Marcada