José Avillez focuses on promoting Portuguese gastronomy and contributes to making Portugal a top gastronomic destination. He’s considered a reference in Portuguese gastronomy and has stood out because of his enterprising spirit and drive to go further. His immense curiosity, love for traveling, and constant drive to experiment and learn have contributed a great deal to his creativity and evolution. He defines himself as a chef who’s passionate about cuisine and about his country and who embraces innovation and creativity without ever forgetting tradition, quality, authenticity, and the worth of work.
José Avillez grew up near the ocean and a pine forest in Cascais, and this had a profound influence on his work. He studied Business Communication in college, had private study lessons with the key author on traditional Portuguese gastronomy, Maria de Lourdes Modesto, and did many professional internships in several different restaurants in Portugal and abroad, such as El Bulli by Ferran Adrià who transformed his concept of cuisine.
“Creating momentum and mobilizing my country, promoting Portuguese gastronomy, working with my amazing team, and cooking and caring for my customers. But also, and always, the moments of creativity, because it’s when I feel the most pleasure and emotion in my life. Then there’s the emotional commitment, the chance to give… that’s what we do in cuisine! Life is a journey and the important thing is to give and leave more than we take.”José Avillez
At Belcanto (opened at the beginning of 2012), José Avillez offers revisited Portuguese cuisine in a sophisticated and comfortable setting that takes us on a journey in time, from Chiado’s old romantic feel to the future. With his team, he considers haute cuisine a way of expression. At Belcanto, they share their inspirations, emotions, and angsts through representations and culinary illusions. Each dish tells a story and its aim is to move those willing to try it.