“The goal is to value the connection to the sea and fishing”
Algarve chef Noélia Jerónimo has been invited to prepare a special business class menu on the long-haul flights of national airline TAP throughout July and August.
Using octopus from Santa Luzia in Tavira, the acclaimed chef hopes to promote what makes the Algarve’s gastronomy so revered.
“I believe that Portugal can become a destination of choice for those seeking to discover haute cuisine,” says Noélia Jerónimo, adding that Portugal can rival some of the leading gastronomic destinations in the world.
“I joined the Local Stars project, alongside national chefs whom I admire, with great pleasure and responsibility for my beloved Algarve.
“The goal is to value the connection to the sea and fishing,” says the chef, a native of Tavira, who has her hands full at her restaurant Noélia & Jerónimo in Cabanas de Tavira, which is considered by many as one of the best in the Algarve.
“The food I serve is a reflection of the landscape outside my window. I have Ria Formosa and the sea in front of me and the mountains behind me. That’s what we should bring to the table. My mother used to work in clam picking, and it’s important for people to understand the work involved and appreciate it,” she said during a presentation to a group of journalists at Salmarim in Castro Marim.
“In my kitchen, it all depends on what the sea provides me. The sea delivers the product to me, so it’s a great challenge.”
As part of the Local Stars project, every two months throughout 2023 and 2024, one Portuguese chef will be tasked with creating a special menu for the business class of long-distance flights, which will include an appetizer, main dish and dessert representing a different Portuguese region. These changes aim to give every region a chance to be promoted.
The initiative is organised by TAP and The Art of Tasting Portugal (TAOTP), a platform which aims to promote Portuguese cuisine through a variety of gastronomic experiences.
In addition to the onboard meals, videos related to the initiative will be shown on long-haul flights in both the business and economy classes, featuring images of each region, producers, recipes, and the guest chefs working with the main ingredient of the onboard menu.
Passengers will also have the opportunity to purchase an experience developed by TAOTP online, featuring the chef responsible for the onboard menu.
“Our country has unique products that deserve international recognition. We have just highlighted São Jorge Cheese, an indigenous product from the Azores, and now we are starting a new cycle with Santa Luzia octopus,” say Patrícia Dias and Adriana Fournier, founders of the TAOTP platform.