Since its opening last month CT Boucherie as been causing traffic jams down Rio’s destination dining street, Dias Ferreira, as well-heeled Cariocas throng the pavement outside to wait for a table. On a balmy evening, you can wend your way along the tree lined avenue from the outstanding yet tiny Carlota, past top tapas bar Venga, till you hit first Quadrucci, followed swiftly by the delicate creativity of Ludmilla Soeiro’s Zuka and across to Sushi Leblon, where Brazil’s fashionistas feast on some of the best sushi this side of Japan. Now, walk a few blocks further and you will stumble across a little corner of Paris where brilliant red flowers lie in terracotta pots under a candy cane awning. This is the latest venture from world famous celebrity chef, Claude Troisgros. Over the dark wood, red walls and waiters in navy felt peasant berets presides an Irving Penn monochrome of two chefs brandishing whites and large knives. Incongruous as it may seem on a summer’s evening in Brazil, this is the hottest restaurant in town.
Hailing from the renowned Michelin starred Troisgros family, and now commonly known as the Daddy of international cuisine in Rio, Claude came to Brazil in 1979 and began to redefine Brazil’s culinary movement by prizing local seasonal ingredients, such as palm hearts and black beans, and bringing out their subtle flavours using classic technical skill. Claude has been delighting the taste buds of Carioca high society at Michelin starred Olympe for over 25 years. With his newest venture CT Boucherie, Claude continues to innovate with his twist on the traditional Brazilian Churrascaria, best described as one long bacchanalian BBQ in which different cuts of meat are presented to you by a seemingly never endless stream of waiters.
‘I don’t believe the Brazilian Churrascaria has ever been modernized: its all about movement and lots and lots of food. Some are good but most of them are chaos, so now we are doing something else. We are modernizing the churrascaria and turning it into a special bistro just for meat’
Growing up under the tutelage of his father Pierre Troisgros who, along with Paul Bocuse, inspired the Nouvelle Cuisine revolution, Claude learnt at a very young that each cut of meat deserves to be prepared in its own special way, and this is exactly what he does at Ct Boucherie: Kobe beef, prime ribs, lamb cutlet, duck confit. It is a veritable meat eaters’ paradise, with a round of organic vegetable and some sophisticated French sauces thrown in alongside. Adept as he is to setting trends Claude Troisgros knows what he is talking about: Before long Brazil’s culinary prowess with be jostling for international headlines alongside economic leaps and sporting bounds.
‘I think we are at the beginning of a movement’,Claude growls, ‘ the very beginning of something which will grow enormously in the coming years when we will see Brazil take centre stage on the international gastronomic scene . This is because as well as excellent techniques, here we have the most unbelievable natural ingredients that one cannot find anywhere else in the world. We are only just beginning to discover the wealth of indigenous methods and unusual herbs that can be found in the Amazon- it is all slowly but slowly coming out of the woodwork. We have the potential to do the same thing that Rene Redzepi does at Noma in Copenhagen, but with some truly incredible ingredients. It is my belief that in the future, the best chefs and restaurants are going to be Brazilian or here in Brazil’.
Peru may well be the current culinary capital of Latin America but, without a doubt, Brazil is flexing her muscles to pinch the crown.
CT Boucherie: Rua Dias Ferreira, 636, Leblon. Tel. 21 2529-2329. …