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Balance: Pedro Pena Bastos’ star ingredient

Balance: Pedro Pena Bastos’ star ingredient

Pedro Pena Bastos © ffmag

In the heart of Lisbon, where the streets are steeped in history and gastronomy is an ode to tradition, there is a chef who has completely revolutionised the culinary art: Pedro Pena Bastos, a name that is causing a stir on the Portuguese gastronomic scene, and which has become synonymous with a style of cooking that brings together flavour, technique and passion in total harmony. Pedro Pena Bastos seeks perfect harmony in running the Cura restaurant (one Michelin Star), located in the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, a gastronomic haven where seasonal ingredients are transformed into poetry for the taste buds.


The career of Pedro Pena Bastos: from the countryside to a Michelin Star

Having trained in Hotel Administration and Culinary Arts at the Estoril Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies, Pena Bastos is no stranger to the rigours of the world of cooking. A polyglot, fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish, his career has been a true voyage of exploration and discovery. From a vintage bistro in his home territory to the point where he became the head of CURA in 2019, his path has been a tireless quest for perfection and balance.

His childhood in the north-west of Portugal played a crucial role in his development as a chef. Seeing the raw materials as they developed in their purest state inculcated in him a deep respect for nature and its gifts. This understanding of raw ingredients and their seasonality is evident in every dish served from his kitchen.

Squid, hazelnut, bergamot, roasted seaweed butter and caviar. Chef Pedro Pena, Cura Restaurant, Lisbon

Squid, roasted seaweed butter and caviar © Hayley Kelsing


Cura: a haven of creativity and flavour

At Cura, every single element reflects Pena Bastos’ commitment to excellence. The design of the restaurant itself, with space for 28 diners, is an extension of his culinary philosophy: warm, welcoming and deeply rooted in the traditions of Portuguese cuisine. The ceramic tableware, the cutlery and the glassware - made exclusively for the restaurant - are as important as the ingredients that go into each of the dishes, resulting in a holistic gastronomic experience.

Pedro Pena Bastos works strictly with small, local suppliers, selecting ingredients of incomparable freshness and quality. This partnership not only raises the profile of his creations, but also reflects his total commitment to sustainability and support for the local community.


Simplicity - a key factor in the cooking of Pena Bastos

The menu at Cura, a collection of around a dozen dishes that vary with the seasons, is a demonstration of Pena Bastos’ mastery of the art of cooking. Each of his dishes reflects his preference for working with only two or three ingredients at a time, making his cooking a testimony to simplicity made excellence. Dishes such as squid with hazelnuts and Hokkaido pumpkin with chanterelle mushrooms are not just a delight for the tastebuds — they tell a story in which the raw ingredients are the leading characters.

Cura’s offering is not limited to food: it is an experience to delight each of the senses. The meticulous selection of ingredients and the thoughtful presentation are a true declaration of intent: here, food is a work of art. Pena Bastos’ skill in balancing flavours, textures and aromas transforms each dish into a journey for the senses.

Cura Restaurant, Lisbon

Cura Restaurant © Cura


Balance in the team at Cura

Behind every great chef there is a team who share his vision and passion. Rodolfo Lavrador, the sous-chef at Cura, is a key ally in Pena Bastos’ culinary venture. His ability to capture the essence of Portuguese cuisine and transform it into something new and exciting is crucial in the development of the menu. David Lopes, Cura’s sommelier, is another of the restaurant’s key players. His expertise in selecting 100% local wines exquisitely showcases the unique flavours that Pena Bastos brings to the table.


A chef who is constantly evolving

“The way in which you connect with your guests and the food at Cura is different from the places where you worked in the past. The Hotel shapes the way in which we run Cura, and I believe that Cura helps to shape the Hotel”, explains Pedro Pena Bastos.  The chef never rests in his quest for excellence. His philosophy, centred on simplicity and the search for balance, reflects his deep understanding of cooking as an art form. At Cura, the chef creates not just dishes, but unforgettable experiences that remain etched on the gastronomic memory of all who are privileged to taste his cooking. His career is a testimony to passion, talent and dedication, and a reminder that the true soul of gastronomy is to be found in simplicity.

Chef Pedro Pena Bastos. Restaurante Cura, Lisboa

Pedro Pena Bastos © Cura

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