April 18, 2024

Curitiba at the top of gastronomic tourism

Manoella “Manu” Buffara wins the Latin America’s Best Female Chef 2022 award

Returning to the region for its ninth year, the award aims to support inclusion in the culinary arena and empower future generations of women.

Buffara is the chef-owner of Manu in Curitiba, Brazil, where she also advocates for environmental changes to help improve the quality of life for the community.

The chef will be awarded on Tuesday, November 15 in Mérida, Yucatán, at the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, the first plenary event of the Latin American gastronomic community since 2019. This award is the first of three special award announcements that will precede the live event schedule.

William Drew, Content Director for Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, says, “Manu has long been a person who has been greatly admired by our voters across the region, not only for his talent in the kitchen, but also for his commitment to creating positive change around you. We are very pleased that this award recognizes his culinary and cultural contribution, and we look forward to further celebrating his achievements at the awards ceremony in Merida.”

Manu Buffara adds: “Having not only my food but also my philosophy recognized is an honor that I am proud to share with my family and the entire Manu team. This is just the beginning for us and we intend to use this platform, and the power of female voices, to elevate Curitiba onto the world stage and show first-hand how community engagement around food can lead to a better quality of life for all.

The daughter of a farmer, Buffara grew up among a wide variety of exotic foods and vegetables. Before opening Manu in Curitiba (the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná) in 2011, she was in Noma (Copenhagen) and Alinea (Chicago), as well as working in Italy and Alaska to expand her culinary repertoire. The result of these global influences is Manu, the chef’s 20-seat restaurant of the same name, which serves cuisine made from a chain of local Curitiba producers and is Brazil’s first tasting menu restaurant run by a female chef.

Buffara and her team scour the local landscape, the Atlantic forest, the ocean and the countryside, to create a menu of some 11 dishes. Manu presents elegant and inventive dishes such as the scallop with Brazil nuts and Emerina honey; beetroot with bottarga and baquiqui; or a dessert of kiwi, yogurt and sweet corn. All dishes are paired with a drink such as fermented tea, organic wine or melon nectar. In 2018, Manu was awarded the One To Watch award within the framework of the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 awards and, since then, he has climbed positions in the gastronomic world, elevating Curitiba on the gastronomic map of the world.

Buffara also stands out as an ambassador for change for her commitment to environmental causes in her community, which include everything from reducing waste to preserving wildlife. The chef herself has focused on creating urban gardens in Curitiba, transforming abandoned parts of the city into areas where communities can self-sufficient in food. The project now has 89 urban gardens in which 5,000 families participate. In 2020, she also founded the Manu Buffara Institute, which organizes the annual Alimenta Curitiba event, focused on education and social inclusion in the most needy neighborhoods of the city.

Buffara joins a select group of chefs recognized for their invaluable contribution to gastronomy since the launch of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013. Past winners of Latin America’s Best Female Chef include Narda Lepes, Pía León, Leonor Espinosa, Helena Rizzo and many more. In 2021, Marsia Taha, from Gustu, in La Paz, was recognized with the unique “Latin America’s Rising Star Female Chef” award.

This year, 50 Best will recognize more restaurants than ever with the announcement of an inaugural list of those restaurants ranked between 51 and 100 in Latin America. The list from 51 to 100 will be announced on November 3, and with it, an increased number of catering establishments and the diverse culinary cultures of the region will be revealed. The announcement will be followed by the reveal of the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants on November 15.

50 Best works with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent adjudication partner to help protect the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022.

Manoella “Manu” Buffara
Source: Rebecca Charu

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