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Born in São Paulo in 1985, Ivan Ralston is part of a family that has an intrinsic relationship with food - his parents, Roberto and Liane Bielawski, are also restaurateurs. Having initially studied music at Berklee College (USA), he decided at the age of 20 that his real destiny was to be a cook and he went on to study gastronomy at Escuela de Hostelería Hofmann (Spain). He gained experience working at Maní, in São Paulo, before moving to Spain where he worked for the stars at El Celler de Can Rocca and Mugaritz. He also did an internship at the RyuGin restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, before returning to Brazil to open his first restaurant, Tuju, in 2014.
Tuju is a ‘paulistana’ contemporary cuisine restaurant whose name describes the gastronomic concept on which it is based. Tuju is the name of a bird at home in the Atlantic forest. It has inspired Chef Ivan Ralston with a passion for responsible sourcing, and his seasonal, farmers market and vegetarian tasting menus draw from the in-house organic gardens where he grows more than 200 species of unconventional edible plants. Many of them are used inventively to create delicate flavors to delight the taste buds. The menu changes often, but dishes such as red snapper with hearts of palm, turmeric and algae, or the wagyu short rib with manioc and Brazil nuts showcase the evolution of Brazilian gastronomy. Chef Ivan Ralston and his team aim to create dishes that honor the cosmopolitan nature of São Paulo. They show influences from Japanese, Italian, Spanish and Jewish cultures as well as influences from the north, northeast and south of Brazil.
The quality, technique and story must be evident in each dish.
Tuju received its second Michelin star in 2018 and was placed 45th in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2017, motivating Ivan and his team to invest more time in their culinary research. He is one of a new generation of Brazilian chefs reshaping the country’s cuisine with respect for tradition but with a modern perspective and technical knowledge. He describes his culinary philosophy as reflective, detailed and provocative and says his greatest inspiration is his daily life. According to him, the menu is based on product, technique and culture, “The quality, technique and story must be evident in each dish.” Chef Ralston’s creations include a bouquet of foraged plants; duck egg, wild porcini mushroom soup, toasted pine nuts and jabuticaba fruit vinegar; momotaro tomato, cucamelon and canastra cheese broth, and brazil-nut homemade bread; sea urchin, squash, almond oil, seaweed and key lime; and burrata made with Brazilian Cerrado vanilla, strawberries, fern shoots and olive oil.
Chef Ivan Ralston says, “The truth is that I don‘t cook for the diner, I cook for myself. Because I like to cook and I’m in love with it. I like to take care of the product. I don‘t know if you‘re going to like what I do, but I‘m going to love to cook what I do for you.”
Passionate Brazilian Chef Ivan Ralston will be cooking his extraordinary dishes for you, showcasing the exotic flavors and seasonal cuisine of Latin America at Restaurant Ikarus in March 2020.
Each month at Salzburg’s two Michelin-starred Restaurant Ikarus, a different top international chef creates the menu. For this globally unique concept, Hangar-7 executive chef Martin Klein visits the cream of the crop, takes a look behind the scenes of haute cuisine, and is let in on some exciting culinary secrets. “Culinary Heights at Ikarus” offers a unique glimpse into the world of high-end cuisine and provides an interesting portrait of each guest chef, their culinary philosophy, and the food culture of their country.