Jessica Carreira - Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

TENTH ANNUAL - SAVE THE DATE – OCTOBER 2-25, 2020

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Jessica Carreira

ADEGA - San Jose, CA

At age 23, Chef Jessica Carreira was the youngest female chef to be recognized by the Michelin Guide with One Star for ADEGA Restaurant.  ADEGA was also the first and only restaurant to receive such a recognition in the city of San Jose, California.  Carreira was born in San Jose and early on showed an appreciation for the culinary arts.

Carreira traveled extensively, accompanying her parents on trips for their wine business and was exposed to different world cuisines, flavors, and ingredients. However, she always returned to the tastes and aromas of her heritage in Portugal.

After graduating from the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles, Carreira lived in Portugal for three years where she perfected her culinary techniques and learned about the ingredients mostly used in Portuguese cuisine. While in Portugal Carreira worked at some of the best restaurants in Lisbon and Porto and with some of the best chefs in Portugal. Most notably, Carreira worked in the kitchen of one-star Michelin Restaurant Eleven in Lisbon.



 

WHY DID YOU BECOME A CHEF?
I became a chef because I was passionate about the culinary arts being exposed to various restaurant experiences from a very young age because my parents were in the wine distribution business. I also wanted to be in some branch of a creative industry and I found that the culinary arts was a great way to express my creativity. I attended Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, CA and did extensive internships in Portugal; it seemed like a natural fit because I am a Portuguese American. Later in 2015, when Chef David Costa and I opened ADEGA in San Jose, CA, my objective was then to illustrate our creative version of Portuguese cuisine to my hometown. San Jose is the second largest Portuguese community in the United States, so I took pride in having our Portuguese restaurant right in the middle of Little Portugal.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COOKING IN THREE WORDS?
Authentic, nostalgic, elegant.

WHAT’S THE BEST HONOR YOU’VE RECEIVED AS A CHEF?
The best honor I have received as a chef was when ADEGA received a Michelin Star ten months after being open. It was an incredible recognition for our hard work and dedication. More recently, David and I have been selected to create the San Francisco to Lisbon executive class in-flight menu for the TAP Air Portugal Airline. It is a huge honor to provide a menu for a flight that I have taken since I was a young girl traveling to Portugal every year.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL AFTER A BUSY DAY?
After a busy Saturday night, my go-to meal is usually a classic IN-N-OUT cheeseburger with a chocolate milkshake and fries.

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE KITCHEN?
When I have the opportunity to turn myself off from the hectic life of the kitchen, I like to try different restaurants in the Bay Area. I also love going out into nature for hikes or spending time at the beach. So I’m very excited to be in Hawai’i and see all of the amazingly beautiful sites and unique nature!

WHAT THE ONE LOCAL INGREDIENT YOU’RE EXCITED TO COOK WITH DURING HFWF19?
I look forward to working with the variety of tropical fruit, macadamia nuts and Kona coffee beans. I am also drawing inspiration from the fact that there is a large Portuguese community on the Hawaiian Islands. Also from the fact that the islands are volcanic, I want to tie in a factor that can make my dessert “explode” with an unexpected flavor.

HAVE YOU BEEN TO HAWAII BEFORE? WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO DURING YOUR VISIT?
I have been to Maui before with my parents and it was unforgettable. This time being in O’ahu, I am looking forward to making some more memories with my parents and David since we will all be there working together and supporting each other for the Food & Wine Festival.

IF YOU WERE NOT A CHEF, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
If I wasn’t a chef, I would be in another creative industry. Most likely in the film or theatre industry because I feel like I can demonstrate my creativity through providing a memorable sensory experience for a guest.