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Portugal - Marta Caleira Nunes

Bailliage of Portugal
Lisbon, August 31, 2023

A career inspired by the 'act of being at the table'
" Marta's competition experience has brought incredible contacts "

Born in Palmela, Marta completed her training at the Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo de Lisboa. Marta gained experience firstly as a trainee in Lisbon’s fine-dining restaurants and began her professional career at Tabik followed by BairroAlto Hotel, Sublime Comporta Beach Club and Sublime Comporta Country House Retreat.

However, taking over as a Junior Sous-chef at BouBou from boss Louise Bourrat in September 2022 was the start of her biggest challenge.

Let’s discover how she got there. What inspired this young, talented chef? Her future dreams and plans?

Here’s Marta’s story:

It all began with being part of a large family who shared meals together. That was very important the ‘act of being at the table’ and started Marta’s taste for eating. As a family being sustainable was a key element and Marta’s passion to know the origin of produce was born.

Cooking came later. Marta’s grandmother, a cook herself, aware of the physical and psychological strain counselled against it. Once Marta discovered the fashionable colourful, creative gourmet cuisine the choice was non-negotiable as it matched her wishes to be creative and practical.

Marta discovered it was not an easy profession with its many male-oriented attitudes. Marta said, “it was absurd, to begin with I had to do three times as much to be appreciated, to have a voice, to be taken seriously.”

Happily for her, change is happening gradually. At BouBou Marta is part of a mostly female team which has been an incredible experience for her.

Marta’s competition experience has brought incredible contacts. She believes that as more women participate it will encourage young female chefs who will think “if she did it, so can I!”

Marta is busy preparing for the International Final of the Chaîne’s Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs Competition in Istanbul this October with a plan to do something contemporary with a Portuguese theme.

And her dream? Marta wants to dedicate herself to food production by going back to her family’s roots. Producing olive oil, pulses, wine which she is sure will open doors. She says, “it’s enriching to be more connected with seasonality and product origins which will stimulate my creativity.”

We wish Marta good luck in the International Final - as of course we do for all the young competitors.

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