Portugal shines with chefs José Avillez, Hans Neun...

Portugal shines with chefs José Avillez, Hans Neuner and João Oliveira named amongst ‘The Best Chef 2023 Top 100’

Chefs João Oliveira, José Avillez, and Hans Neuner

By: Michael Bruxo

Photo: João Oliveira (left), José Avillez (middle) and Hans Neuner (right)

Two Algarve chefs among the world’s top-100

Three chefs leading Portuguese restaurants – two in the Algarve – have been featured in the ‘The Best Chef 2023 Top 100’, which lists the 100 best chefs in the world.

João Oliveira, the Portuguese chef in charge of Portimão’s Michelin-starred Vista, took the 100th spot, while Hans Neuner, the Austiran chef who heads the two Michelin-starred Ocean in Porches, is placed 71st. The top-rated chef in Portugal is José Avillez (33rd), famous for his work at Lisbon’s Belcanto (two Michelin stars).

Oliveira, 32, took over the kitchen at Vista in 2015.

He is one of the best known chefs in Portugal. Before turning to cooking, Oliveira played football in Valongo, the city where he was born, but an injury made him go from player to referee. But the recipes took over his life,” the list says.

Oliveira says that the inspiration for his cooking “comes from the product itself.”

“Seasonality and freshness is the most important thing to my inspiration, I have the privilege of working every day with the best local ingredients, especially those that come from the sea,” he adds.

Neuner, on the other hand, is described as an “Austrian chef whose culinary vision is based on pillars: fish, traditional Portuguese recipes, and the ingredients themselves.”

“Chef Hans Neuner has visited many countries, but the biggest inspiration in his cuisine is Portugal! In his kitchen, he draws heavily from its culinary tradition and culture. The fresh, modern Ocean Restaurant serves fish and shellfish from the Atlantic Ocean, fruit, vegetables, meat and wines from the heart of Portugal, and wines and organic products from Herdade dos Grous, in Alentejo. He become head chef of Ocean in 2007 and says that he left for Portugal immediately, taking only his cookbooks, chef’s knives and his girlfriend,” the list says.

José Avillez is highlighted for his commitment to making Portugal a “top gastronomic destination.” 

“His immense curiosity, love for traveling, and constant drive to experiment and learn have contributed a great deal to his creativity and evolution. He defines himself as a chef who’s passionate about cuisine and about his country and who embraces innovation and creativity without ever forgetting tradition, quality, authenticity, and the worth of work,” says ‘The Best Chef 2023 Top 100’.

“Creating momentum and mobilising my country, promoting Portuguese gastronomy, working with my amazing team, and cooking and caring for my customers. But also, and always, the moments of creativity, because it’s when I feel the most pleasure and emotion in my life. Then there’s the emotional commitment, the chance to give… that’s what we do in cuisine! Life is a journey and the important thing is to give and leave more than we take,” Avillez adds about his motivation to keep cooking.

The full list can be found here.


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