FS Sao Paulo Chef

Executive Chef Paolo Lavezzini of Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo at Nações Unidas dishes on his favourite spots to hang in his home city.

A Chef’s Guide to São Paulo

Executive Chef Paolo Lavezzini of Four Seasons São Paulo on the inspiration behind his menu and the spots he frequents in his home city.

Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo at Nações Unidas Executive Chef Paolo Lavezzini, a native of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region and long-time resident of Brazil, combines the best of both worlds at his new restaurant.

“I’d say it’s about 65/35,” says Paolo Lavezzini – the executive chef of Neto, the elegant restaurant at the new Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo at Nações Unidas – talking about the ratio of Italian to Brazilian influence on his menu. The name Neto, which means “grandson” in Portuguese, is in part a nod to the massive Italian immigration to Brazil in the 19th and early 20th centuries, which had an enormous influence on Brazilian cuisine. The restaurant (and the Hotel, Brazil’s first Four Seasons) is striking not only for its use of local materials like stone, leather and wood, but for its seamless meshing of ingredients.

The country is huge. You’re always discovering something different. Brazil is crazy, and I love it.

In Brazil, a meal starts with a couvert, often bread and butter, but at Neto, Lavezzini sends out his own version: homemade sourdough served with cashew butter and a tomato and mango chutney, delivered on a soapstone dish from the southeastern state of Minas Gerais. Lavezzini has been in Brazil since 2012 and knows where to discover the best. “We found a tomato supplier. That’s all he does: tomatoes. We found an Italian family in the south of Brazil making Italian speck – a smoked ham with a robust flavour.” If he can’t find something up to scratch – like aged rice or pasta – he sources it from Italy. But most ingredients are local. “The country is huge,” he says. “You’re always discovering something different.” He grins. “Brazil is crazy, and I love it.”

Ibirapuera Park, Sao Paulo

AROUND THE CITY

“I love Ibirapuera Park, especially when there are live, open-air concerts,” Lavezzini says. “São Paulo offers so many great opportunities for entertainment. Paulista Avenue, one of the city’s landmarks, is a fun place to spend a Sunday. You can find anything to eat or buy, with a variety of bands playing along the avenue.”

A Casa do Porco, Sao Paulo

MORE TO TASTE

“For Brazilian casual food, Chef Jefferson Rueda’s A Casa do Porco has a great environment and a wide range of pork-based dishes,” Lavezzini says. “For Italian modern cuisine, Evvai is a good option – or visit the Bixiga neighbourhood along Avanhandava Street and enjoy a meal, and maybe some music, in one of Walter Mancini’s restaurants.”

Beco do Batman, Sao Paulo

ON THE STREET

“The Villa Madalena neighbourhood’s Beco do Batman is an open-air graffiti exposition, and there are several small restaurants worth discovering in the area,” Lavezzini says. “If you stop by a padaria, or bakery, order a pão na chapa, which is bread with butter, toasted in a grill pan, and a pingado, coffee with milk. Street markets are fantastic options too; ask the Concierge for the best ones each day, because they are itinerant. When you find one, order a pastel, or pastry, with caldo de cana – sugar-cane syrup – and don’t miss doing a fruit tasting. This is very much a São Paulo thing!”

The first Four Seasons property in Brazil, the new Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo at Nações Unidas is located 30 minutes south of downtown, along the Pinheiros River. Here, in one of São Paulo’s most desirable neighbourhoods, you’re in a prime spot to enjoy green spaces, upscale shopping, dining, bars and nightlife. Business travellers are also within easy reach of several Fortune 500 companies.

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