Claudio Cardoso – Corporate Chef
I see food as something limitless – be that in flavour, visually or bringing back memories. I want to stimulate introduce people to new and adventurous ways of eating and encourage them to see food as a piece of art from conception to elaboration and consumption. It is important for me to work with seasonal products and never to forget the history of food and what our ancestors used to eat. For me, respecting cultures, produce and the planet are the heartbeat of any successful restaurant business – Claudio Cardoso
Cláudio Cardoso is Executive Chef and at the helm of SUSHISAMBA London. While he shares a passion for cooking with many chefs, his culinary philosophy and approach separate him from his contemporaries. Upholding the motto, “challenge everything”, Cláudio is constantly refining his craft, a boldness and dedication showcased in his dishes.
This was no more evident than in late 2014 when SUSHISAMBA London was one of a few restaurants in the world certified to sell authentic Kobe beef by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Under Cláudio’s direction, the restaurant launched a Kobe beef programme, featuring London’s first ever Kobe Ishiyaki experience.
Since joining the Samba Brands Management team in April 2013 at the age of 29, Cláudio has adapted seamlessly to the fast-paced atmosphere of SUSHISAMBA. He runs the kitchen of SUSHISAMBA London with unrivalled passion and skill, and ensures each dish looks as beautiful as it tastes. Drawing from his knowledge of international cuisines and unique ingredients, Cláudio’s interpretation of the brand’s cuisine shines in inventive dishes such as Sea Bass Tempura, Picanha Tataki or Salmon and Foie Gras Seviche. The flavours of these dishes marry in an unimaginable way.
Cláudio has always been captivated by food. At an early age, he learned to appreciate cross-cultural cuisines and diverse flavours. Born and raised in South Africa, his family table often featured meals that showcased his mother’s South African favourites and his father’s Portuguese flare. His family was well regarded in the Portuguese food industry with a presence in everything from wineries to cereal farms and bakeries to honey production.
So, it was no surprise that at age 15, Cláudio pursued a formal culinary education at the Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies in Estoril, Portugal. There, he studied Kitchen and Pastry before enrolling in the Food Production and Restaurant Operations Honours degree program. Further complementing his formal education, Cláudio apprenticed at a myriad of popular restaurants and hotels, including the Lapa Palace Orient Express in Lisbon, Sheraton Hotel in Bahrain, where he cooked for His Majesty The King, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, South Africa.
Before graduating, Cláudio worked behind-the-scenes at several restaurants in Portugal, namely, Casa da Dízima, Quinta de Catralvos in Azeitão with Executive Chef Luís Baena, and as Head Chef at Hotel Solar dos Mascarenhas in Vila Viçosa.
Following the completion of his schooling, Cláudio was ready for his next big challenge. Having mastered a host of cuisines, he wanted to try something new and attained a position at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company at Midori, the oldest Japanese restaurant in Portugal. There, he devoted himself to acquiring the precision required to execute Japanese cooking techniques.
At the end of 2009, Cláudio travelled to Dubai for a unique opportunity to open both Burj Khalifa and The Armani Hotel. Shortly thereafter, he accepted a position at the Sushi Café Avenida. There, he collaborated with the restaurant’s creative team to incorporate innovative molecular gastronomy techniques to enhance their existing menu. With Cláudio’s inventive approach, the menu drew in droves of patrons and the restaurant became a hotspot known for its high-end Japanese cuisine.
In 2011, Cláudio was asked to return to The Ritz-Carlton, Sintra as a Head Chef of their newest venture, Il Mercato. During this time, he also travelled to Italy, working with the Bvlgari Hotel, Milan, where he brought novel techniques and one-of-kind creations that were used throughout the group. After he completed the opening, he accepted an offer to take his work back to Midori in order to enhance the creative and technical capabilities of the kitchen staff.
Cláudio is always ready to embrace new culinary methods, but he never forgets the foundation of good food. Walking through markets, breathing fragrant aromas, and taking in vibrant colours helps him to realize his eclectic culinary visions. As an avid artist himself, he utilises his passion for colour, shapes and techniques to form his dishes. Everything regarding food should have a feel, not just using the five senses, but also stimulating the mind. His primary inspiration has always come from the people he meets and their cultures. He feels that his life as a Chef would not be as successful and complete without these experiences.
Accordingly, his passion extends beyond the kitchen with a true focus on the environment. Ensuring he gives back and not taking the planet for granted, he is fervent about recycling, utilising environmentally friendly products and bringing a sustainable approach to as many aspects of his work as possible. Cláudio believes chefs are the voice of the industry and they have a responsibility to educate both their staff and their guests in how they see and appreciate food.
Collaborating with the culinary team at Orange Brands Management, Cláudio’s influences are felt not only in London, but also in SUSHISAMBA locations in the United States, including New York, Miami, Las Vegas and soon to be, Amsterdam.
Richard Woods – Head of Spirit & Cocktail Development
@The_CocktailGuy on Instagram and Twitter
“The foundations of any cocktail are to make something taste delicious. Once you have established the building blocks of flavour you can flirt with boundaries. I like to showcase how diverse and unusual flavours usually found in a kitchen can equally be delivered behind the bar. It is my experiential approach that enhances a multisensory experience allowing cocktails to live outside the glass.” – Richard Woods on bridging the worlds of culinary and beverage
Under the creative leadership of award-winning Head of Spirit and Cocktail DevelopmentRichard Woods, Samba Brands Management (SBM) restaurants’ ever-changing cocktail lists feature a diverse selection of spirits and an avant-garde approach to mixology. Since joining SBM in 2012, Richard has spearheaded and overseen the direction of beverage programs at locations across the globe, including SUSHISAMBA in New York, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Las Vegas and London and Duck & Waffle in London. In 2016, Richard will also oversee the development and modernisation of beverage programs at two of SBM’s locations in Miami: SUGARCANE raw bar grill and Bocce.
Richard’s affinity for the hospitality and beverage industry emerged during his first job in a suburban gastropub, where he quickly moved up the ranks into management. It was several years later, however, upon relocating to London that he pursued his true passion, entering the cocktail scene as Bar Manager of Floridita, Soho. In this new role, he embraced the opportunity to modernise classic Cuban cocktails under the helm of renowned restaurateur Sir Terence Conran. From 2007 – 2008, Richard accepted the position of General Manager, opening and managing locations in Madrid, Dublin, and Moscow.
In 2009, Richard was ready for his next challenge, accepting the position of Executive Beverage Director of Drink Development for Stambac International, the parent company of Floridita. In this new role, he enhanced the beverage program for sites in Canada, United Arab Emirates and London. With Richard behind the bar, Time Out named Floridita “Best New Bar” in 2006, “Best Bar” in 2007, one of the “Top 10 Nights Out” in 2007 and one of the “Top 5 Best Rum Bars in the World.” He was also named “Best New Bartender to Watch” in 2007 and Courvoisier’s “Top 30 ‘Ones to Watch.’’
Seeking a position that would put his imagination and creativity to the test, Richard accepted the role of Head of Spirit & Cocktail Development in 2012 for SBM, quickly becoming a pioneer in the industry. He has raised the ‘bar’ for his contemporaries by distilling his own flavours and aromas, experimenting with intricate methodologies and incorporating diverse and unusual ingredients to transform the cocktailing experience.
Impressing critics, connoisseurs and media alike, in 2014 he earned first place in the UK and Ireland Bombay Sapphire’s “World’s Most Imaginative Bartender Competition” followed by second place in the world finals and he contributed to the Duck & Waffle’s cookbook: Duck & Waffle: Recipes and Stories, sharing a selection of his iconoclastic recipes with the world. In 2015, he received the honor of being the first bartender to participate in the prestigious “Who’s Cooking Dinner”, under his direction, Duck & Waffle was short-listed as a top 10 finalist in the “Best International Restaurant Bar” category for the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, and he was named one of Evening Standard’s “1,000 Most Influential People.” Richard has made numerous radio and TV appearances on such esteemed shows as the UK’s Channel 4 Sunday Brunch.
At SBM, Richard has the ability to work with a myriad of spirits, satisfying his passion for inventiveness and exploration. His creativity shines in Duck & Waffle Serves such as the Roasted Cosmo 2.0 and the Chocolate & Blue Cheese Martini. In the spring of 2015, Richard introduced Culinary Cocktails to SUSHISAMBA London’s menu, collaborating with Executive Chef Claudio Cardoso to present libations that pair perfectly with the cuisine, including the Kobe Cocktail and the Coconut Seviche Cocktail.