Manuel Pires (Santa Maria Petisca Ria) is a finalist in the Chef Cook of the Year contest

Final does not have a date set yet.

Manuel Pires, from the Santa Maria Petisca Ria restaurant, in Faro, is one of the six finalists in the Chef Cook of the Year competition, the most important competition of its kind in Portugal. The final does not yet have a date set. 

To reach the final, Manuel Pires won the South and Islands regional stage, held on the 11th of May.

The chef presented a menu consisting of anchovy, oyster and prawns from the coast (starter), cod, tongues and grass peas (fish dish), wild rabbit, feijoca and savory (meat dish), honey, fig and orange (dessert).

Everything was cooked during the test, which lasted 4 hours and 30 minutes.

Surprised by the victory, Manuel Pires confessed that «I wasn't expecting anything to win».

“I had some difficulties during the race but it ended well”, he said.

Regarding the preparation for the tasting and the choice of the menu, the chef explained that he decided to use «the flavors of the Algarve, where I am, with very good products. I trained the cooking points of each dish very well».

In the final, Manuel Pires will face Ana Magalhães, from Six Senses Douro Valley (Lamego), Fábio Santos, from Landeira restaurant (Tomar), Helena Castro, from Antiqvvm (Porto), Nuno Ferreira, from Bairro Alto Hotel (Lisbon) and Pedro Larcher, from Atelier Henrique Sá Pessoa (Lisbon).

The substitutes are Hugo Dias de Castro, from Pastus in Oeiras, and Carlos Torres, from Elêbe restaurants.

In addition to the title of chef of the year, awarded to the competitor who obtains the highest score in the National final, the distinctions Helmut Ziebell will also be awarded, to the dish and competitor who gathers consensus in the jury for their creativity, the Virgílio Nogueiro Gomes prize, attributed to the dish that reveals more clearly the evolution of Portuguese cuisine, and the Makro Sustainability Award, for the competitor who shows greater attention and commitment to sustainability practices during their tasting.

The national final will take place at a date and place to be announced.