Lionel Ortega (age: 37) from France is married to Alice Rocha da Silva and lives in Brasilia since 2010. They have one son, Rafael (1 and a half year old), born in Brasilia in 2011. Lionel is a “chef de cuisine” and runs his own restaurant “L’Atelier du chef” in Brasilia
1. Where and how did you meet your wife?
I met my wife in France when she did her master in law. I knew her during a birthday party in a jazz club in Aix-en-provence.
2. What was the reason for you to chose Brasilia as your domicile?
The reason of my choice was simple, Brasilia is the city where my wife comes from.
3. What was your profession in Paris before moving to Brasilia?
I was a private chef-de-cuisine for an English family.
4. Which hurdles did you have to overcome to continue your professional career in Brasilia?
The difficulties were to learn a new language, to discover a new city, a new culture, to learn and understand all about the habits of the Brazilian people.
5. What was the most impressive experience at the beginning?
The most impressive experience at the beginning was to adapt my style of cooking for Brazilian people and others, too, using Brazilian products / ingredients.
6. Do you miss anything from France?
I miss the beautiful and fresh products
7. What characteristic do you like most with the Brazilians?
The Brazilians help a lot, a lot of people whom I didn´t know before; these people helped me with a lot of details for opening my restaurant.
8. What is your favourite place in town?
I like all the shopping centers
9. What is your dream destination in Brazil?
For working, I would like to know Sao Paulo because of ist very interesting gastronomic scene. For tourism purposes, I would like to visit Manaus in Amazonia. I am also curious visiting the South of Brazil.
10. What is your favourite leisure activity?
Travelling in Brazil or other countries.
11. How do you deal with homesickness?
I am married to a Brazilian woman, so I don´t feel very much homesick. And today, with all the communication alternatives by internet, i is no problem to maintain relations with my family and friends in France and talk to them.
12. What is your advice for a foreign partner moving to Brazil?
The person needs to adapt her/his business idea to the Brazilian people. But in the first range, she/he needs to learn the language and about the habits of the people. This needs time, but is very important, too.
After an important period of adaptation, Lionel Ortega opened his own restaurant in Brasilia in April 2012:
„L’Atelier du Chef“, 405 SUL