Sao Paulo’s Chef Vivi Goncalves’ Recipe for Success
A meal always tastes better when you are hungry. What we learned from being with Chef Viviane Gonclaves is that she is successful because she is “hungry to be someone, hungry for life and hungry to make difference in the world.”
It was totally worth it to spend an hour in the stop and go (mostly stopped) rush hour traffic in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a couple weeks ago to interview Vivi and have dinner at her restaurant in Vila Madalena: Chef Vivi.
Vivi opened her first restaurant when she was in her early 20s. Chef Vivi is now on her fourth restaurant and she’s even had a restaurant in Beijing, China.
The reason a home cooked meal tastes so good is that it’s made with love. It’s that same ingredient that makes Chef Vivi and her meals extraordinary. Vivi thinks of every person who comes to her restaurant as a dear friend coming over to dinner at her home. Every day, she thinks about the health and well-being of her guests as she sources locally made organic food. She decides how to prepare the food with a menu that is artfully designed from her background in architecture and design. She prepares the meals, makes sure her restaurant is at its physical best and then gets herself ready to receive her guests with warmth and gracious hospitality.
What drives Vivi’s hunger?
The same ingredients that will help you be successful in your own career or business:
She is always fully present and committed to be where she is no matter where that is.
She’s learned every aspect of the restaurant business and believes that is key to her success. In her years learning and working her way up in the field she’s learned about sourcing food, designing a restaurant, financials, operations, service, partnerships and about building and managing the team.
She looks for and finds her niche and believes she can be the best in the space she chooses.
More than anything else, what drives Vivi today is a burning desire to make a social impact in her community, in Sao Paulo, and in Brazil. She wants to make that impact by educating people about healthy food, by planting urban community food gardens in city squares and by teaching people in low-income communities to grow, eat, and perhaps even make a living selling healthy food.
After learning about Vivi’s recipe for success in a field traditionally dominated at the top by men, and enjoying a most delicious, beautifully presented meal that included home made breads, locally sourced octopus, duck and shrimp – we were no longer hungry. We were full of love, warmth, wisdom and inspiration. Wishing you fullness and hunger for life!
Learn more on Chef Viv’s Facebook page.