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FOUNDER, LISBON COOKING ACADEMY
Just over a year ago, Ana quit her cushy corporate life to open up her dream cooking school in Lisbon. She’s super passionate about cooking, teaching, and Portuguese food history. Her experiential tours are filled with education, culture, wine and plenty of laughs!
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LEARN MORE ABOUT ANA
1. WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU BECAME A CHEF? WHEN IS THE MOMENT YOU DECIDED TO PURSUE THIS DREAM?
I have always loved to cook, ever since I learned it with my mom when I was a little kid. However, I studied event management in school. I used to work in events production, then with the 2008 economic crisis the event industry totally came to a halt. At that time I thought I wanted some security so I went to an office job from 9am to 6pm. BIG FAIL! I found out I am just not that kind of person, so all throughout I was feeling miserable. My escape was cooking. All the free time or extra money that I had I invested in cooking courses, books or equipment. Then I realized that I needed to start working with what gave me real pleasure, so I became a cook at a hostel. After only a year working there I went to culinary school because I wanted to learn more.
2. YOU HAVE BEEN HEAD CHEF AT TOP RESTAURANTS, TRAINED CHEFS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, AND FOUNDED THE LISBON COOKING ACADEMY, AMONG OTHER THINGS. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PURSUIT IN THE FOOD WORLD SO FAR?
What I’m doing now! I love to cook, but for me sharing the knowledge behind the dishes with people from all over the world is by far the best thing I ever did!
3. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE DISH TO MAKE? WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
Wow! This is a really difficult question! It depends on the mood I am in... However I love to cook risotto because it needs time. With risotto, it’s just you and the pot, and little by little the transformation starts to appear so eventually you have a magic dish in front of you.
4. WHAT IS YOUR COMFORT FOOD? WHAT DOES IT REMIND YOU OF?
Salted dry codfish with chickpeas, one of the national dishes in Portugal. It reminds me of my entire childhood, it was my favorite dish as a kid. Usually kids ask for French fries or candy, for me it was codfish!
5. IS THERE A PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE YOURSELF AS A YOUNG GIRL?
Yes, take risks, believe in yourself and don’t take shortcuts!
6. WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE GASTRONOMIC DESTINATION? WHERE IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU LOVE TO TRAVEL TO TRY THE CUISINE?
I love Italian and Thai food, but I have already gone to both of these destinations - mainly to eat! I think my next food destination will be Japan.