Award-winning Brazilian chef and restaurateur, Manoella 'Manu’ Buffara, has launched a new pop-up restaurant at Soneva Fushi, the pioneering barefoot luxury resort in the Maldives. Located at Fresh in the Garden, a treetop dining destination that overlooks the resort’s extensive organic island gardens, the 12-month pop-up is based on the concept of transformation and offers guests a rare opportunity to dine with one of Latin America’s most exciting culinary talents.
Recently named Latin America’s Best Female Chef by the World’s 50 Best, Chef Manu is the executive chef and owner of her eponymous restaurant, Manu. Paving the way for gastronomy in Brazil, the menu celebrates the culture and produce unique to the region of Paraná.
Inspired by her family and background, Chef Manu learned the value of land and animals growing up in the countryside and incorporates this in her everyday technique. At her restaurant, which is located in the city of Curitiba, she uses organic ingredients from her own garden and carefully selected suppliers. Her devotion to sustainability and quality ingredients stems from her commitment to Curitiba, working with local communities to transform abandoned sites into urban gardens and educating locals on how to care for the gardens and feed themselves.
“I cook to change the weather; I cook to change the mood; I cook to change nature; I cook to change the world; but what I want most is to cook to change people,” says Chef Manu. “Cooking at Soneva Fushi, for me, is an act of freedom and connection. I believe in the connection between land, sea, minerals, roots, fruits and animals, and I respect the time, energy and people involved in this process. That's where our food comes from and I’m so excited to share my story of transformation with guests at Fresh in the Garden.”
“We are delighted to welcome Chef Manu Buffara back to Soneva Fushi,” says Sonu Shivdasani, CEO and co-founder of Soneva. “Soneva has a long history of collaborating with world-renowned chefs to offer an exceptional gastronomic experience to our guests, whether through pop-ups such as this or our ongoing Soneva Stars calendar.”
Chef Manu’s menu focuses on plant-based, vegetarian and pescatarian dishes, using ingredients grown in the resort’s organic gardens and sustainably caught seafood. Seating just 35 guests per sitting, the exclusive pop-up at Fresh in the Garden will be overseen by members of her team from Curitiba.
Fresh in the Garden is located high above Soneva Fushi’s organic gardens, where the aromas of the herbs waft up from below. The central open kitchen gives guests front- row seats to the action, with seating available under cover or beneath the starry night sky.
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