Ricardo Luz went a "long way" to become Chef of the Year

New Chef of the Year works at Bon Bon, in Carvoeiro, and has made his career in the Algarve

Photo: Bon Bon Restaurant

It was a «long road», but done in good company, that led Ricardo Luz to win the award for Chef of the Year.

The long-established chef in the Algarve, who currently works at Bon Bon, a Michelin-starred restaurant located in Carvoeiro, Lagoa, won the 30th edition of what is considered the biggest cooking competition for professionals in Portugal. The award was handed out on Wednesday, at a ceremony that took place at the Alfândega do Porto Congress Centre.

«This award is, for me, an enormous pride and a reason for great satisfaction. It was the realization of a dream and a strong desire. I've always wanted to do more and better and be part of this limited range of 30 great chefs who have won this award, in 30 editions of the competition», told Ricardo Luz to Sul Informação.

"My private [Louis Anjos, Bon Bon's chief executive], for example, won in 2012 and wanted me to win. gave me advice and killed me the head saying: go there and you will do the same as me, which is to win! I have great admiration for him and I thank him for everything he has done for me», he said.

To get here, 31-year-old Ricardo Luz had to make “a road that is already long. I started when I was 15 years old, at the Lisbon Hotel and Tourism School. Later, I worked at Vela Latina, Tavares Rico and Vila Vita, where I stayed for five years. Afterwards, I passed by the Hotel Pestana Palace, Penha Longa, Vila Itália and Macdonald de Monchique. Now, I'm deputy chef of the Bon Bon restaurant».


Ricardo Luz and Louis Anjos


Born in Almada, «son of Alentejo parents», Ricardo ended up choosing the Algarve as a privileged place to pursue his career, despite having also worked in restaurants and hotels in Lisbon.

«I spent most of my journey at Vila Vita, with the chefs Paulo Fortes and Manfred Kickmaier. I was still in Lisbon for a while, but then I went back to work at Macdonald Monchique and I'm still here, at Bon Bon», he recalled.

In these last two houses, he worked with Louis Anjos, with whom, he confesses, he enjoys working a lot. «I want to continue working with the private Louis Angels. In a kitchen, we have to get along and he and I both have a very strong cooking intuition. And so we understand each other. We've been working together for 4 or 5 years».

Before, Ricardo Luz had already worked with some of the most famous names in the national gastronomic scene. «I also worked with [José] Avilez, with chef Aimé Barroyer, with chef Vasco Lello, with Paulo Carvalho, who is now with the private Kiko, at Vila Vita, and with Pedro Almeida and Bruno Augusto, all of them from haute cuisine in Portugal».

«I always wanted to work with the best. That is why I have always chosen good restaurants and good hotels, with great chefs, to one day be part of this range», he told the Sul Informação.


Photo: Chef of the Year


In almost a decade and a half of his career, Ricardo has learned a lot and knows very well which path he wants to follow. «My type of cuisine is Portuguese food, with a touch of innovation, knowing the roots and respecting the Portuguese product», he revealed.

This was evident in the menu he presented and with which he convinced the jury of the Chef Cook of the Year competition. algarvian he won the competition with a menu consisting of Cod Stew, Ravioli de Sames and Tongue (starter), Redfish and its Livers, Peas and Boiled Corn (fish), Pork Tusk, Rabo, Turnip and Cabbage (meat), Cherne Rice and Gamba da Costa (traditional pot dish) and Sericaia de Strawberries and Poejo (dessert).

«I used corn from Monchique, which today almost nobody uses, only in typical restaurants in this village. I managed to make a fish dish. Normally, in Monchique, corns are boiled with meat, but I managed to turn them over to fish. It was something a little out of the box», he illustrated.

Despite being in the spotlight and with the lights pointed at him, due to the victory of the renowned Chef of the Year, Ricardo stated that, for now, he is not thinking about new projects. “I want to continue learning and, one day, I know that other doors will open”, he concluded.