He was originally going to be a marine biologist, but cooking crossed João Rodrigues’ path. This must be why his love of nature, and the sea in particular, joined him during his culinary career too.
He studied at Lisbon’s Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo and worked for 3 years at the Bica do Sapato restaurant alongside the chef Fausto Airoldi. He then went to the Hotel Ritz Four Seasons, where he worked with chefs Stephane Hestin and Sebastien Grospelier in the Varanda restaurant. His next move was to open the Lisbon Casino’s catering areas, where he subsequently worked in the Pragma restaurant for chef Fausto Airoldi. His career won him the 2007 “Chef of the Year” award.
Rodrigues has been the chef at the Feitoria* restaurant in Lisbon’s Altis Belém Hotel & Spa since 2009, and is also the creator of the Material Project to promote the authenticity and importance of origins and seasonality in choices of ingredients.
He has held a Michelin star since 2011, he is an acknowledged leading light of Portuguese cuisine, and in recent years he has won many distinctions. In 2018, 2017 and 2016 the “Mesa Marcada” Blog pronounced João Rodrigues the best of the 10 Favourite Head Chefs of the Year, and in 2015 the “WINE - A Essência do Vinho” magazine named him “Best Head Chef” and “Chef of the Future”.