Before Chef George Mendes opened Aldea in New York City in 2009, he was a relative unknown, even though he'd worked in some of the world's most exalted haute-French kitchens with chefs like Alain Ducasse, Roger Vergé and David Bouley. Aldea has made Mendes's namebut not with haute French food. Instead, he prepares globally inflected interpretations of rustic Portuguese dishes, such as his signature "duck rice," a complex reinvention of a simple dish his mother used to cook.
Why hasn't Portuguese food had a champion like him in the US before? "Portugal never had a food revolution, like France and Spain," he explains. "But now, chefs there are pushing the cuisine." F&W does a little pushing of its own to create simple versions of Mendes's best Portuguese recipes.
- Paella & a Portuguese Red
- Wineries by the Sea: Portugal
- Wine Classics to Try: Spain & Portugal
- Celebrating Portugal's Green Wine
Chef Way: Homemade Pickled Vegetables, Braised Pork Belly and Clams
© Jerry Errico