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Helio Loureiro Chef

Meet Hélio Loureiro

Meet the Porto-born Chef who is a key figure on the Portuguese gastronomic scene and has won prizes in several national and international competitions.

Meet Porto: What can customers expect from a catering service in which you are involved, either in the planning or execution?

Hélio Loureiro: To have local products, products that are close to home, a wide range of biodiversity and seasonality, which are the key points that we must have with food and which must be reflected exactly in what a catering and restaurant service is today. These three points should be the pillars: biodiversity, seasonality and proximity. Then, of course, a quality service with good, seasonal products.

MP: How is your concern with consuming local and seasonal produce reflected in your dishes? Is there a preference for these products?

HL: I’ve always been careful. Now it’s very fashionable, but fashion is cyclical. But the truth is that my concern for the planet isn’t a question of fashion or because it’s the order of the day. I’ve always had this concern, for more than 30 years, and for more than 30 years I’ve been doing exactly this search and research for local products and small producers.

MP: Is sustainability a priority? Can you give some examples?

HL: One of the most pressing sustainability issues today has to do with food waste, which has always been one of the most important causes for me, whether in catering or any other service. It’s important that what is produced and what is consumed is utilised in every way. When it’s not used, when it’s left over, then it should be channelled into social assistance and where it can be reused. In this case, it’s the institutions we have in Portugal today that can use what’s left over from banquets. We have to pay attention to this.

MP: Is Portugal present in the dishes you idealise? What about Porto?

HL: Being Portuguese and being in the North, I have a responsibility to show what our cuisine is, what our traditions are, our cultural commitment while we’re in the kitchen and to use local products so that when you’re at the table you feel exactly the country we’re in and the region we’re in.

MP: After serving such important banquets, many of them for European royal houses, what is the greatest lesson you have learnt from these experiences?

HL: Simplicity. I think that any Royal House – whether our Royal House or the other Royal Houses – strives for simplicity rather than ostentation. And that comes across in the suggestions and requests they make of us, or have made of us in the past, for their events. One of the things that has always struck me was precisely this concern, which is not now, it has always been, with simplicity in service, refinement in service, the simplicity and care with which it is presented and served.