Celeb chef, Guga Rocha caps off live cooking series at Brazil pavilion presenting traditional Pampa cuisine

Towards the climax of the Expo 2020, the South American country concludes its educational and entertaining live cooking series at the pavilion with a final presentation with ingredients from the Pampa biome in South Brazil.

DUBAI – March 19, 2022: The Brazil pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai hosted a live cooking show, starring prominent Brazilian celebrity chef and TV personality, Guga Rocha featuring cuisines from the Pampa biome in Southern Brazil and introducing dishes that were likely unknown in the Middle East.

The show was the sixth and last instalment in a series of live cooking shows hosted by the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex Brasil). The series showcased the unique cuisines and their respective ingredients from the six different biomes of Brazil.

“We are thrilled to have Chef Rocha here at Brazil Pavilion to cap off our live cooking series. The goal for this series was to show people on the world stage that Brazil has more to offer than just the Amazon. We have incredible diversity that often gets overlooked. With Chef Rocha’s fantastic recipes and his personality, we hope people will learn about the Pampa region and its many amazing dishes,” said Raphael Nascimento, Pavilion Director for Brazil at Expo 2020 Dubai.

“The Pampa biome refers to the vast grasslands in the southernmost region of Brazil fostering diverse flora and fauna. The food from the region comes from the gaucho or the cowboys of Brazil,” says Chef Rocha on the sidelines of the cooking show. His deep enthusiasm for cooking and the Brazilian food has been rather infectious.

Speaking about why he fell in love with cooking, chef Rocha said, “If you really want to know about a culture, you got to go where real people live. Not even us professional Brazilian chefs know everything that’s in Brazil. We are still discovering the various ingredients that Brazil has to offer. Brazilian cuisine is constantly transforming. These are the native foods with the African influence and Portuguese flair along with influences from The Japanese, the Chinese, the Lebanese.”

“There are a lot of different influences that are changing the food in Brazil. It is evolving, getting lighter, fresher and more modern in a way that it is more accessible and universal,” he added.

Given how intimidating the vast diversity can be for newcomers, Chef Rocha shared his recommendations for several must-try Brazilian dishes from different regions, “You must try our barbecue, and the amazing fish dish Moqueca. Feijoada is another one of our great classics. From the north, you have to try Tacaca, a dish coming from the Amazon natives. You also need to try Chicken with Pequi that comes from the central Brazil. Pequi is a fruit, and I would compare it to truffles because it is so strong and pungent.”

However, his personal favourite dish is Moqueca, which is a fish stew with coconut milk, chillies. “I love it and it is my favourite dish to eat.”

His advice for people who were unfamiliar but wanted to get into Brazilian cooking was, “to be colourful. You have to have some acidity, like limes, chillies, etc. Lots of herbs and most importantly, lots of freshness.”

Chef Rocha is best known for his uncanny ability to merge Brazilian roots with exotic flavours from around the world and create innovative approaches to cooking beloved, traditional food.

The Chef prepared a three-course meal for the audience watching. The starter was Coxinha, a sort of battered and fried dough dumpling, which was shaped like a teardrop and stuffed with beef rib and pine nuts. Keeping with the beef theme, the main course was a slow-braised Picanha or Sirloin dish called Barreado. Finally, the dessert was an artisanal sweet from the gaucho region called Butia Chimia, served with tapioca Sagu.


About Brazil pavilion at Expo 2020

The Brazilian pavilion will be part of this last thematic axis, reaffirming the importance of biodiversity, culture of environmental preservation, competitiveness based on sustainability and the portrait of Brazilian multiculturalism.

Expo Dubai 2020 represents a singular moment of promotion of Brazilian diversity and an opportunity to tell the world of its unique features. The event is linked to the efforts of Apex-Brazil in the commercial promotion of agribusiness, innovative technologies, as well as the construction of an economically attractive country image and a natural destination for foreign investments. It will also contribute to reinforcing the regional, gastronomic and ethnic multiplicity and immigration diversity of Brazil.

Apex-Brazil is responsible for building the pavilion and organizing the Brazilian participation at Expo Dubai. In 2015, the agency organized the Brazilian participation at Expo Milano and, in 2010, at the Expo Shanghai.