Stories are all round us, waiting to be discovered
"If you throw your whole heart into what you're doing, you'll surprise yourself and others."
At her restaurant “MANÍ” in Sao Paulo, Helena puts fusions of Brazilian with European cuisine on centre stage. When mixing influences, cultures, and experiences she's immersed in her passion – discovering new ways to wow her guests.
Inspired by the world
“I can be inspired by an ingredient, I can be inspired by a trip. I can be reading something interesting and that leads me to think of an idea for a dish”.
Helena has always wanted to see the world, learn new things and find that one extraordinary love in her life. As someone who sees the natural beauty in almost everything, her path led her from studying architecture, to modelling, to her biggest passion – cooking. She has lived and worked in different European cities and learned from the best – not just taking notes on cuisine, but also on lifestyle and life philosophy.
“I strongly believe… together we can create beautiful experiences.”
Chef Meets Artist
Helena and Azuma-san
As someone who is inspired by different cultures, Helena is also fascinated by Japan and the Japanese cuisine. She says floral artist Azuma Makoto’s work “has this focus, that the Japanese kitchen also has.” She was amazed at how Makoto preserved the natural beauty of the flowers by freezing them into the ice. During their collaboration she wanted to create a dish that equally captured a moment in time, suspending reality and inviting others to experience new levels of creativity in cuisine.
When timing is everything: The Generation 7000 Oven
Time is crucial in the culinary world. Whether it’s the time an ingredient needs to cook or the time a guest waits at the table – timing always needs to be perfect. That’s why Helena was so intrigued and impressed by the Generation 7000 Oven. She could trust its innovative technology to deliver consistently perfect results, allowing her to unleash her creativity. Thus, she was free to focus on the most artistic facets of her dish, perfectly placing colours to combine and contrast with Makoto’s work.
Inspired by colours
Inspired by the colours in Azuma’s work, Helena created a fish dish created with the Generation 7000 Oven that was an orchestration of colours and ingredients, such as sweet potato, cauliflower pickles, zucchini and crunchy garlic. During the collaboration she also created a dish Helena Rizzo inspires with her beautifully created dishes featuring a duck with radicchio, onion and blueberry. For this final dish she arranged the ingredients around the duck in the form of a wing – to symbolise the level of freedom one should have when cooking.
“I think working with cooking technologies that give us confidence is something very peaceful – and with these technologies today everyone can cook very well, anyone.”