Chef of the Week: Luciana Berry, Head Chef at Mano in Mayfair

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have worked in my company in London for the past 14 years. Now I am working on my new Brazilian/Japanese restaurant opening up soon in the heart of Mayfair.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion started when I moved to London in 2004. I learned my skills at Cordon Bleu London and I could mix this with my Brazilian roots.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Making people happy.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Cassava, picanha and soya sauce.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
BBQ grill.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Food with soul and history behind it.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
To not focus. Everyone has problems outside of work, however in the kitchen it is show time and we have to perform well, so personal problems should be left outside the kitchen door.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
My favourite time of the year for food is when I can surf, sit and drink with friends and eat by the sea.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Moqueca – A Brazilian seafood stew.

How do you come up with new dishes?
By being curious and creative.

Who was your greatest influence?
My mum!

Tell us three chefs you admire
Gordon Ramsay, Luiz Hara and Francis Mallmann.

What is your favourite cookbook?
‘The Japanese Larder: Bringing Japanese Ingredients into Your Everyday Cooking’ – by Luiz Hara

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Chefs who brings soul to food and don’t over complicate things.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
I didn’t have time to go out after the pandemic. My catering kept me very busy as people wanted to celebrate life with their friends at home.