Follow Leandro on Twitter and Instagram @leocarreiraa

  Photograph by Paulo Barata

Photograph by Paulo Barata

1. What was your first job in hospitality?

Three levels below commis, I was a dishwasher like everyone else (laughing), well most other chefs.  That's how it started, back in Portugal when I was in culinary school. 

2. What is your favourite cuisine to eat - preferably the opposite to what you work in?

Japanese, I just like the clean flavours and the simplicity of it. 

3. Which dish do you most associate with childhood?

Grilled salted cod, I was a spoiled child (laughing)

4. What’s the soundtrack to your first love?

I don't remember (laughing) 

5. What do you crave after a long shift?

Take my precious socks off (laughing), no I just go home and have a glass of wine and put my feet up.  Sometimes have dirty food as well, some stupid kebab late night full of sauce. I like it. 

6. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – what do you have? 

Depends really, but usually toast, a lot of coffee, fruit, eggs. I like very runny eggs. 

7. What is your favourite word?

Saudade - there is no translation, it's a word you say in Portugese, it's like beyond missing something.  It doesn't have a literal translation though. 

8. If you could go on a culinary extravaganza-eating holiday – where you choose to do so?

I would start in Japan.  If I could spend a year there I would.  I just want to absorb more of the culture.  Obviously I want to go to the hot spots and the places everyone talks about, but I think there is more than that, for sure there is more than that. 

9. All at the same time or coursed out?

Depends where I am going, but usually coursed out. 

10. What is the one area of working in a restaurant you wish you knew more of?

Wine and more about my job (laughing)

11. What is the best cure for a hangover?

Nice meal at home. Something fatty, fuflfilling and comforting. 

12. You’re allowed one shift drink – what is it?

A really good beer. I love it. There are so many now, but I really like Kernel. 

13. What is the one thing which guests do that drives you mad?

Not showing.  No shows I think are really disrespectful. It drives me nuts, absolutely nuts. 

14. Do you have any rituals during a shift?

The towels have to be folded perfectly. The one you have on the pass for wiping. 

15. What’s the last film you saw?

I watched Sin City recently, that was really good. 

16. Best thing that has ever happened to you in a restaurant? 

Working at Mugaritz.  Eating in the restaurant each day, everyone ate at the same time, 45 people. That was really good. Gives me goosbumps just to think about it. It was special. 

17. What’s your tagline/motto?

I don't really have one just 'Push, push!' (laughing)

18. Photography while eating – yay or nay?

Umm I don't know, I would like to say no, I mean it depends.  There are people who take the plate off the table and go somewhere and do photos, they get really into it, that's one thing I don't like. If you do a quick snapshot when the plate arrives then that's ok, I don't mind, but I wish I could ban phones from restaurants. I think there is a restaurant in New York that gives you pictures at the end of the meal so you don't have to. You don't have to go on Instagram straight away, just enjoy! 

19. Rank the following in order of priority: wine, food, sex

Food, sex, wine. 

20. What would be your last meal – drinks included.

Txuleta from Etxebarri and maybe Château Latour '45, if I could afford it (laughing)

21. What makes you happy?

Simple things. Just keeping everything simple makes me happy.  You have to find a balance in everything, which is hard.  If I start to feel unbalanced I go away with my wife (laughing).

22. How do you relax?

I like to listen to music or things that are not related to the kitchen, travelling as well. 

23. What is the background on your phone?

My wife (laughing)

24. Favourite Instagram accounts to follow 



25. What is the best thing about working in hospitality? 

If you're a cook, if you're a chef, I think the best thing is you can sort of give an experience to someone else, you can really express yourself on a plate with the food.  I think that is a bit special. You work very hard and you build something from scratch, and then it all goes in two minutes, or sometimes less (laughing).  It's like an artist paints something and then someone comes and takes it with them. 

26. Which restaurant are you ashamed to NOT have eaten at?

Michel Bras and then next maybe Kikunoi in Japan. 

27. Who is the person you most respect in the industry?

It would be very unfair to name 1 or 5 or 10, there are so many people. I respect a lot of people who do things well and strive to push forward to do something different. 

28. What is your go to party trick?

I don't have one. 

29. Finish this sentence: I eat everything except ...

I eat everything.