Miguel Teixeira, Executive chef Erva & Soul Garden, hotel Corinthia, 20 years of tradition and fusion

Miguel Teixeira, Executive chef Erva & Soul Garden, hotel Corinthia. 20 years of tradition and fusion

Miguel Teixeira © ffmag

Energy, transparency and  modesty are three things that everyone who works with chef Miguel Teixeira remembers about him, while he describes himself as “a good friend and colleague”. In the kitchen he loves teaching and working in a team; outside it, he likes to go snowboarding and travel, a great passion that is one of his biggest sources of culinary inspiration. Teixeira has had a 20-year career in the food world and since 2019 has worked at the Hotel Corinthia, where he manages ‘Erva’ and ‘Soul Garden’, contrasting restaurants that both serve authentic flavours.

Once destined to be a doctor, Teixeira soon realised that science wasn’t for him. After abandoning his studies, he started to work with his father, who had two bakeries at the time. That was when he discovered his love of catering, cooking and customer service. This first experience led him to enrol in Cooking at the Oporto School of Hospitality and Tourism and to take his first steps in the sector.

cauliflower ragout

Cauliflower ragout © Corinthia Hotels

In 2003, he worked as a chef alongside Heitor de Melo at the opening of a restaurant at the Fundación Serralves museum, a job that he balanced alongside his studies. Afterwards, he followed de Melo to open a restaurant in Marina do Freixo. Next came Vila Galé hotels in the Algarve, a period in the United Kingdom, where he didn’t feel settled, and a return to the Algarve, where he spent six years at Grupo CS hotels as executive chef. He later moved to VidaMar in the Algarve and then Madeira. In 2019, after a short break, he started work as executive chef at Corinthia. “It’s a fantastic hotel that never stops investing so it can continue to improve. It’s a great group that lets employees grow,” he explains.

 

Chef, teacher and colleague

“When I started out, I worked with some of those chefs who cook with their back to you, so you can't see what they were doing. They hid things from me, they wouldn’t share their knowledge,” Teixeira says. With a totally different work and life philosophy, Teixeira defines his leadership style in the kitchen with the phrase: “don’t do to others what you wouldn’t like done to you”. “I share everything because I think that, if we all help each other, we all learn and that’s the only way we can develop and improve what we do. Without my team I’m nothing. I could be the best chef in the world but, without them, I’m not going anywhere,” he explains.

Spicy tuna sushi

Spicy tuna sushi © Corinthia Hotels

 

Erva: cooking from his roots

Teixeira’s cooking is heavily influenced by his background. His family’s northern roots are especially prominent in the food at Erva, where the menu is based around fresh, organic, seasonal produce from Portuguese producers. With dishes inspired by traditional Portuguese cooking, Teixeira’s concept at Erva features signature dishes, fresh fish and delicious meat, with a cross-cutting, creative and contemporary menu. Wine-pairing is chosen by the sommelier and intensifies the culinary experience, making meals special and unforgettable. DJ sets and the modern Portuguese art that decorates the walls create the perfect atmosphere for long, drawn-out nights.

“At Erva, I try to make food with lots of flavour, I cook the way my grandmother did,” Teixeira says. “I’ve always been used to the type of regional food my parents and grandmother made. A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about slow cooking, but it’s a way of explaining how things are done, because my grandmother, her mother and everyone in the village slow cooked all their lives,” he says with a laugh. This attachment to his roots and memory for tastes define his cooking because, as he explains, “today everything has been invented, we just have greater access to information and equipment that is far more sophisticated than before.”

Erva Restaurant

Erva © Corinthia Hotels

 

Soul Garden: world flavours

Teixeira’s second project represents the other side of the coin. Inspired by his numerous journeys around the world, at Soul Garden he has created a menu with four concepts and different flavours, based on organic, fresh and natural food, where you’ll find dishes that are designed to be shared. The original cocktail menu, carefully selected music and eclectic atmosphere add an exotic touch, and customers enjoy an overall experience that goes beyond food. Colourful decoration, a peaceful garden, irresistible cocktails and light snacks perfectly combine in the space.

20 years in the kitchen is a long time. Teixeira is grateful and proud of his journey and career. “I’ve been lucky to have a career with so much growth. I’ve worked hard too, obviously, but over 20 years I’ve learned a lot and made many friends.”

Soul Garden Restaurant

Soul Garden © Corinthia Hotels

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