“Bacalhau, gambas, frango no churrasco com piri piri – Portuguese cookink done exceptionally well”
“I had the most wonderful meal at Xavier School’s First Saturday Market. It’s amusing to think that some of the best culinary experiences we’ve had centered on dishes that were simple.
Take, for instance, the delectable chicken dish I had, which was well-marinated for 48 hours and grilled for 45 minutes, Portuguese-style. The cooking must have been flawlessly executed so that the chicken was soft and moist on the inside, with flavorful charred bits of crackling skin.
The grilled chicken was served with mouthwatering piri-piri sauce (mild or spicy—a blend of peppers, chilies, herbs and spices, soaked in olive oil and allowed to age and mellow over time) and a tasty black olive-flavored rice.
So simple yet so unforgettable!
João Branquinho is responsible for the meal that left me craving for more. When I learned that he caters, I booked him for Monday lunch and I asked him to prepare a typical Portuguese menu. He cooked bacalhau a bras (codfish), frango no churrasco com piri piri (grilled chicken), gambas com piri piri (grilled prawns) and black olive rice.
João is from South Alentejo, Portugal. With pride, he said that his native region he is full of history, excellent gastronomy and empty beaches. “We produce very excellent wines, olive oil, Iberian pork, hams; and the region is very rich in marble, which is my family’s main business.
“I moved to the Philippines in 2009 with my Filipino-Chinese wife Stephanie. I felt it was the right time; the country was filled with promise. Not knowing what to do exactly, I started importing Super Bock, Portugal’s most famous and multi-awarded beer, blending the southern Portuguese barley with German hops and northern mountain water.
“In fact, the chicken was something I came up with so I could sell more beer. It was an experiment I did at an event in Rockwell, in April 2010, for Father’s Day. Luckily, the people enjoyed the food, particularly Elbert Cuenca and Raffy David (I owe them a lot) who loved the chicken and asked if I could cook for their car-wash event.”
It was a success, as there couldn’t have been a better formula—men, cars, beer and freshly grilled chicken with spicy piri-piri sauce!”
(E-mail João at firstname.lastname@example.org and have him cater your Christmas parties for a merry and tasty Portuguese-style Christmas.)