Plating Up with Dário Costa

Plating Up with Dario Costa

From Michelin star restaurants in Italy to placing third on MasterChef Brazil, Dario Costa has truly done it all when it comes to food. Since getting his start at nineteen on exchange to New Zealand, it's been one country (usually coastal) after another. Lucky for us he settled in his native Brazil to run several restaurants, including one in our very own Sao Paulo Temple.

More than a hobby, surfing represents an intrinsic connection to the ocean, which influences his work in the kitchen where he frequently places an emphasis on fresh, local seafood.

We caught up with Dario in his element at the Deus Mansion before setting off to the beach not fifteen minutes away.

Who are you?

These days I'm primarily a family man who loves the ocean and all it has to offer. A passionate and enthusiastic professional constantly searching for new inspiration to refine my job as a chef.

What does a regular day look like for you?

It's all about working around restaurant schedules and after that I try to find some room to jump on a plane and chase some surf somewhere. Luckily one of my restaurants is based on an island that from November to April has lots of good surfing so I can squeeze in a break between shifts. 

My very first restaurant is based in my hometown where the surfing is very good as well so it’s easy to share time with family, work and surf.

What's something people don’t know about what you do?

The amount of microwave popcorn and scrambled eggs I eat. Not a lot of real cooking is happening at home these days.

What's your dream project? Edible or otherwise.

Probably a complete coastal, farm-to-table experience. Build a hotel in a surfing area with some amazing food from breakfast to dinner. Grow our own ingredients and  catch our own fish.

What's playing in the kitchen most of the time?

I typically have no music in the kitchen. The kitchen noise is a tool to understand what's going on during service.

What is the best thing about food in Brazil currently?

The people are finally being proud of our food culture! Ingredients like açai, cocoa, heart of palm and manioc are finally recognized as amazing ingredients. While back in Brazil our food and ingredients were underrated by our own people.

Finally, as a man of the world, what’s your favourite place to eat, surf or both?

That's the question I guess. Anywhere with good surf seems to have a unique food culture and I could tell you hundreds of places I would love to go surfing and eat. If I have to choose one I would say Basque Country because you can always run away to Portugal if the winds start blowing north, plus you can get pasteis de nata there.

Photography by Rafael Paixão

Production by Compound Creative House