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Chef Dárcio Henriques

According to Chef Dárcio Henriques, “Cooking became my passion at 13 when I stumbled upon the abundance of fresh produce on our family farm in Portugal. It all started with baking cakes alongside my mother, and from there, my love for cooking blossomed. That journey eventually led me to culinary school in Leiria, where I discovered my true calling—to become a chef.”

Henriques grew up in a little town close to Nazare Beach where fish like sardines and octopus have been sun-dried for ages. He adds “That seaside vibe heavily influences my cooking style today, with plenty of fish and seaweed making their way onto my menus, inspired by the flavors of Nazare.”

Chef Henriques traveled the world to expand his culinary horizons. 

“I’ve had the pleasure of working in some amazing places, each leaving its mark on me. One standout memory is my time at Joel Robuchon in Paris, where the culinary expertise was top-notch at its two Michelin-starred status. It was a pivotal period of learning, skill-building, and developing a deep respect for food.” Robuchon was named “Chef of the Century” in the Gault Millau guide in1989.

Chef Henriques continued, “Then, I ventured to Shanghai, where my culinary horizons expanded exponentially with exposure to diverse flavors and ingredient combinations.

London came next, where I had the incredible opportunity to work at the iconic Lanesborough Hotel. It was there, in 2021, that I proudly earned a Michelin star.”

Chef Henriques is now wowing those who dine at Raiva, named for the parish in which it is located along Portugal’s Duoro.

“After a decade abroad, I felt a strong pull to return to Portugal and showcase its rich culinary heritage to the world. Octant Douro (Raiva Restaurant) provided the perfect platform for this mission. Together, we’re dedicated to crafting menus that celebrate the best of Portuguese regional and seasonal ingredients, making significant strides forward.”

 “I’m all about Mediterranean cuisine, especially from Portugal, Spain, and Greece—they’re my top three favorites. What really sets my food apart right now is the ingredients I get to play with. Since I’ve been in Douro, I’ve forged connections with small-scale producers of organic vegetables and fruits. They’re growing special goodies just for me, all year round. It’s these unique ingredients that really make my dishes shine.”  

He continues,“Being featured in the Michelin Guide was a shared ambition among us all. We knew it would boost our visibility and open up new opportunities in the market. When we received the news at the hotel, it was call for celebration—a monumental achievement we all celebrated together.”

“In 2024, there are only 166 establishments in Portugal listed in the guide, including those recommended, awarded Michelin stars, and honored with the Gourmand distinction. Ours is one of them”

Chef Henriques regards seaweed as one of the most versatile, powerful and healthful ingredients incorporates this favorite nutrient-rich ingredients from the sea into his cuisine. He added “One of my favorite seaweeds, to be honest, is Dulse. I’m planning to shake up a few menus at the hotel for the summer, and I’ll be using it in some creative ways. For instance, I’ll hydrate it in water for about 15 minutes and pair it with grilled peaches, mozzarella, nuts, and a mixed salad—I absolutely love this combination!

The chef’s enthusiasm shines through when he describes his menu innovations. “Another idea I’m excited about is incorporating seaweed into a risotto at Raiva. Picture this: Portuguese salted cod fish perfectly paired with a flavorful seaweed risotto. It’s going to be a delicious fusion of flavors that I can’t wait for everyone to try!”

Chef Henriques has generously shared a recipe for Biological Tomato Salad from Verde Áqua Farm. It has a unique and surprising twist and can easily be made at home. His photo of the salad, however, reveals the artistry of a Michelin Star chef. Give it a try!

Chef Dárcio Henriques

Ingredients: for 2 people

• 100g chopped shallots

• 50g chopped chives

• Pinch of sea salt

• Zest of 1 lime

• Lemon vinaigrette

• 2 kg Beefsteak tomatoes

• 30g glucose

• 50g tomato pulp

• Drizzle of balsamic vinegar

• 300g assorted ripe tomatoes (preferably at room temperature)


For the Tomato Sorbet:

• Cut the beefsteak tomatoes into cubes, season with salt, vinegar, and olive oil. Let it marinate for 24 hours, then add the tomato pulp and glucose.

• Blend the entire mixture and reserve in the freezer.

• Before serving, blend it in a blender until it reaches the right sorbet texture.

For the tomato salad:

• Cut as desired and season with the lemon vinaigrette (150ml olive oil, pinch of salt, and 65ml lemon juice), salt, chives, shallots, and lime zest.

• Plate the salad with the sorbet on top of the tomatoes.

• Garnish as desired.

Chef Henriques and his wife also have an Instagram page, @cozinhadarly, where he teaches easy cooking techniques.

Chef Dárcio Henriques

Chef Dárcio Henriques

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