On Tuesday, May 30th, Henrique Sá Pessoa and the ARCA team are honored to welcome the famous Brazilian-Portuguese chef Kiko Martins for the 4th edition of the “ARCA behind the pass” event. Chef and owner of several renowned restaurants in Lisbon, including A Cevicheria and O Talho, Kiko Martins is known for his desire to introduce unexpected flavors and culinary traditions from around the world. For one exceptional evening, he joins Henrique in Amsterdam to create an innovative fusion of Portuguese and Asian cuisine, inspired by their respective travels.

Kiko, you are one of Portugal’s most renowned chefs, having built your reputation on several highly recognizable Portuguese culinary gems. On Tuesday 30 May you will come to Amsterdam for the fourth edition of ARCA Behind the Pass: a regular culinary concept where chef Henrique Sá Pessoa collaborates with top chefs.
You are both old friends. How did you meet and how did you end up collaborating on this culinary event?  

Henrique: Kiko and I have been friends for over 10 years, we were judges on a cooking show called Chefs Academy that aired on RTP1 about 10 years ago and we have remained friends ever since.

Henrique, how would you describe your culinary style and how did you integrate it into the menu of ARCA Behind the Pass in collaboration with Kiko?

Henrique: I am tried to develop my personal style, by drawing inspirations from Portuguese traditional cuisines and in general by using techniques from the different countries that I visited. When I crafted the Arca menu, I also tried to implement it with an Asian twist, that I acquired from my 3 years in Australia, where Asian food has strong presence.

Kiko, could you describe the relationship between Portuguese culinary traditions and Asian culinary influences in the menu of ARCA Behind the Pass?

Kiko: The influences of Portuguese cuisine in the Asian world is still very present and has been integrated in the national recipes because of the colonialist past. For example, if you go to India or Malaysia, you will still find many dishes impregnated with Portuguese culture. I am doing quite the same with the Arca’s menu and for instance I’ll use the tuna as the main piece of a recipe, which is a typical Portuguese fish, but I will implement it with an Asia twist, by adding Asian with coconut milk and different spices.  

Kiko, you draw your inspiration from your travels and summon ingredients and techniques from all over the world. Does coming to the Netherlands mean that you want to bring a Dutch touch to your style?

Kiko: Doesn’t matter where you go, culinary and gastronomy are all about sharing and discovering new products and techniques. So yes, for sure, I’m going to steal some techniques from the Netherlands (laughs). I think you can learn everywhere to cook, and not only by going to restaurants or markets, you will always have something to learn from locals, friends.

How did you choose the flavors and ingredients for the menu, especially the Asian influences? 

Henrique: As the guest chef is always confronted with the concept first, I created my dishes according to Kiko’s choices to make them as harmonious as possible.

Kiko: I’m found of Asian cuisine and I love everything that I’ve been eating in Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan or China. These countries play a very important role in my creations. But you know, it was easy to craft the menu with Henrique because we know each other pretty well.

Can you give us an insight on what guests can expect from this culinary experience? 

Henrique: Guests can expect a fun and tasty menu with fresh and bold flavors, lots of fun interactions with Kiko and myself, great wine to go with our menu, and great service and ambiance provided by the ARCA team. A great event and a unique experience in Amsterdam!

Kiko: They can indeed expect a very nice dinner with me and Henrique, using fresh products, cooking in a simple but very flavory way, using some good techniques and innovating combinations. But mostly, a lot of fun! 

These two renowned chefs, long-time friends, will offer you a memorable evening, during which you can enjoy a sumptuous 6-course dinner, accompanied by a selection of wines and hot drinks.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to meet these two culinary icons and let their boundless creativity take you away!

Book your culinary experience online.

words and interview by MARIE-PAULINE CESARI @itsjustmp