George Mendes talks about yelling in the kitchen, exercise, and Portuguese egg tarts.

Kat Kinsman
Updated April 17, 2019
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Chefs and restaurant workers take great care of everyone else, but often they need a little help themselves. Each week, Food & Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman talks with hospitality pros about they manage their business, brain, and body for the long haul. Is there a topic you'd like to know more about or a guest you'd love to hear from? Tell us at fwpro@foodandwine.com or tweet to Kat @kittenwithawhip.

Episode 5: George Mendes

His Michelin-starred restaurant Aldea is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, but George Mendes has been working his way through some of the world's most prestigious restaurant since graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1992. He's seen a major shift in kitchen culture along the way—and in his own attitudes toward self care. The 2011 Food & Wine Best New Chef sat down with F&W senior editor Kat Kinsman to talk about the importance of mentorship, friendship, biking, and being an ambassador for Portuguese cuisine.

"The '90s and part of the early '00s were definitely a period where this was this kitchen culture where you were always afraid to get yelled at, and you were trying to keep your head down and do your job. What especially stands out from my time in Spain and Paris is that there was was a lot of yelling and if there wasn't yelling, the people who weren't yelling got yelled at because you're supposed to be yelling. It was really silly. You walk into this atmosphere of fear. Focus and quiet and calmness, but fear. We were excited and we wanted to learn from these masters but at the same time, it was 'What are they going to yell about next and what could possibly go wrong?' There was always something that went wrong. Looking back at it now, it's so foreign to me."Learn more about George: aldearestaurant.com

Buy his book: My Portugal

Cook his favorite Portuguese recipes: Duck rice, clams with pork belly, and more

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Previous episode: David Chang