Depart from the local in order to talk about Brazil as a whole. Such is the motto of chef Manuelle Ferraz, native to the city of Almenara, in the Jequitinhonha Valley. The original place enjoys success in the Barra Funda neighborhood, where Manuelle settled six years ago to live and create her recipes, inspired by dishes from her childhood and adolescence in Almenara. The house first started as a small store called Quem quer pão? [Who wants bread?]—the small sign is still there to tell this story. On the counter, Manu used to offer a delicacy that is still one of the specialties of her menu, the pão de queijo made of tapioca powder and cheese from Minas Gerais, standing out from others ‘just’ for that and having a bread structure, as she highlights.
At MASP, A Baianeira brings some innovations, offering a special cocktail menu, prepared by Néli Pereira from Espaço Zebra, responsible for the bar.
One of the main names of Brazilian gastronomy today, Manuelle Ferraz was recognized as a Breakthrough Chef in the Prazeres da Mesa Best of the Year 2018-2019 award and had her restaurant chosen as one of the new Bib Gourmand (best cost-benefit) on the Michelin Guide Brazil 2019. That same year, A Baianeira was elected the Best Restaurant to Feel Like Home in the gastronomy awards O Melhor de São Paulo, by newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.
Manuelle’s concept of gastronomy blends well with the proposal undertaken by MASP of rupturing hierarchies in art, putting art and handcraft on the same level. Such concept can be observed in exhibitions like The Hand of the Brazilian People, organized by Lina Bo Bardi in 1969 and remade by the museum in 2016; Portinari Popular, also from 2016; as well as Tarsila do Amaral: Cannibalizing Modernism, held in 2019, which became the most visited exhibition in the history of MASP, welcoming more than 400,000 visitors. Although she makes elaborate dishes, Manuelle seeks to break categories and stigmas, in addition to working with ingredients often underestimated by the so-called haute cuisine.
‘Our gastronomy culture is very rich. The scarcity of the Brazilian inland makes for preciousness and mixture,’ states the chef, who affirms not to follow trends, but rather to explore what she considers as authentic and legitimate. ‘For me, things work only if they work for my mother, back there in Almenara.’
Some of the recipes of A Baianeira are original to the Jequitinhonha region, such as the turkey neck, the pumpkin with gumbo, the pork suã, the farofa of andu beans, and so on. Others are ‘deconstructed’ by the chef, as is the case of the sweet potato gnocchi with a slice of requeijão de corte, a kind of dairy specific from that region—there, people usually put small bits of it in the coffee. Manu also emphasizes the use of the expression eating culture because she believes the Brazilian popular and immaterial values are as important as the material ones. ‘When we travel, before going to a museum, where do we go? To eat. At MASP, we want to integrate it all.’
For lunch, the options include both the daily menu (with options with and without meat during the week)—stroganoff on Tuesdays, feijoada on Wednesdays, parmigiana on Thursdays, and fried fish or plantain moqueca on Fridays—as well as Brazilian beef stew picadinho, baião de dois, pasta, and the basics: beef stew, chicken filet, fish, omelet, or filet mignon steak with salad, rice, beans, cream, and vegetables of the day.
Among the drinks, stand out the cooked peanut cocktail with catuaba and the Cupú da Manu, with cupuaçu.
Vegan and vegetarian dishes are offered every day, proposing a balanced consumption of animal protein, as Manu already offers at A Baianeira in Barra Funda.
MASP A Baianeira
Address: avenida Paulista, 1.578
Tuesdau to Friday: from noon to 3 pm
Saturdays: from 10 am to 4 pm
Sundays: from 11.30 am to 4 pm
Booking: +55 11 91107-4074