Speak, Chef! – Rafael Pizanti do Barê

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A spoonful of butter, two cups of flour and a few spoons of cocoa may not make as much sense in your daily vocabulary. In fact, Rafael Pizanti is really used to “a dose of gin combined with an infusion of saffron, grapefruit, pomegranate syrup, citrus and lavender bitter”, just to give you an idea of ​​the subject. When it comes to varied ingredients, for example, it is because the selection ranges from Tahiti lemon to a Greek liquor extracted from roots. That’s it. Welcome to the world of Mixology. In this relaxed interview, you will discover a little bit about the profession, which can be compared to a more liquid version, say, of a chef. The mixologist develops cocktails and also creates food pairings from drinks.
Rafael Pizanti has been involved with mixology for over 12 years. In his resume, the position of best bartender in the country indicates that he is moving in the right direction. Pizanti won several cocktail championships, such as Diageo World Class, who accredited him to represent Brazil at the World Bartenders Championship in Athens (Greece), Gray Goose Vive La Revolution, Absolut Crative Drinks it’s the Grand Prix Havana Club. On one of these trips, he visited the Absolut factory in Sweden. Want more?
The mixologist, who started his career in a traditional canteen in the Bexiga neighborhood, has already commanded the bar at the Hotel Copacabana Palace in the “Cidade Maravilhosa” for four years and today he is responsible for the ethylic creations of the unusual bar menu of the gastrobar Barê, in São Paulo. In addition, it was he who took care of the consultancy and designed the local drinks menu, which offers a gastronomic experience packed with the sound of indie rock, jazz, house and soul. The most famous drinks there are Berlusconi – an exclusive combination of vodka and red fruits gains citrus touches of aperol and sparkling wine–, Lolita – refreshing combination of vodka with passion fruit, notes of vanilla and almonds -, Camden Town – Earl Gray English tea-infused gin and citrus touches add to the bitterness of tonic water in this refreshing and unusual cocktail – and Don Vito Corleone – powerful, strong and persistent, the reinterpretation of the classic Negroni is an offer that, according to Barê, cannot be refused.
Sit down, get a drink and enjoy the interview.
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I Could Kill For Dessert: Rafa, to begin with, tell us how you got involved in this universe.
Rafel Pizanti: I did hospitality and in a certain period of the course students needed to complete a few hours of internship for any sector. That’s when I chose an Italian canteen in the Bexiga neighborhood and then did a month of internship at the bar there. I started taking courses unpretentiously and then a job opportunity in the area appeared. From there, the doors opened.
ICKFD: What is the profile of a mixologist and what is the mixology in your words?
Pizanti: The mixologist is not just a cocktail breeder. He’s a guy who has to be creative, communicative and a leader, because he’s going to lead the entire bar staff. In fact, in addition to being charismatic, you must be a showman. Before thinking about mixology, the secret is to think about hospitality, it means knowing how to be hospitable. This is the first step of the profession. The second is to understand the profile of each customer so that they know how to transform the drink into something unique. Mixing the ingredients is essential, of course, but the important thing is to create a nice experience for those sitting at the counter. It is an art.
ICKFD: Another art is knowing how to play with the most varied combinations. How do you decide to pair a drink, which generally has very specific characteristics, with any other food? Is it easier to combine a drink with sweet or savory?
Pizanti: It depends on your cocktail. In the contest in which I participated in Havana, I made a pairing with chocolate truffles and a cocktail made with aged rum, red vermouth – the drink had a bitter and also citrusy feel due to the orange peel. He married very well, because in addition to containing a chocolate bitter in the cocktail, the chocolate truffles broke the bitterness of the drink. But still, people generally harmonize more with savory dishes.
ICKFD: Let’s just talk about the drink, then. What are the drinks that most please the Brazilian?
Pizanti: Lately the gin is very high, which is a breakthrough since not everyone has this bitter taste. Some time ago, the drinks were very marked because people used to associate them with something very sweet, but today you can see several different types of drinks, different types of gin, the tonic ones are coming with more variety, too. I think the public has been ordering drinks like Gin Tônica, so the sweets were even a little aside.
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ICKFD: Do you think that Brazil has a good market for this area or is it still a bit restricted?
Pizanti: Brazil has evolved from about 8 years ago, but in general people are crawling. We are far behind some countries, like England – London is the Mecca of cocktail -, the United States with New York and Chicago, Spain. Not to mention Asia, with Singapore, Japan … We run into the issue of drinks that do not arrive here due to taxes. This is a limiting factor. Furthermore, technique and labor are still in the making – their access is weaker. The culture of those who work in this area is still seen as underemployment.
ICKFD: And if a person wants to venture into this area without commitment, just to enjoy a few good drinks with friends, which drinks do you consider indispensable to have at the bar?
Pizanti: At home, I can’t miss Gin. But the guy has to know how to play with all the spirits – he has to have options, buy one of each type. You can play a lot in the creations with fruits, since they are cheaper. We have to value our country, which has a huge variety of fruits, roots and spices.
ICKFD: Finally, talk about a super exotic ingredient that you have on your countertop.
Pizanti: I have a Greek liquor, extracted from the sap of a tree born on a Greek island. There, people usually drink it very cold after meals. This liquor has a very deep footprint, it’s incredible and it doesn’t have it in Brazil. Everything we don’t have in Brazil, we try to surprise the customer with something different and unusual – we try to bring drinks that people are not used to and that is the story … Bring a unique experience for each one.
www.tbfoto.com.br BARÊ - SP / SP - 12/16/2013 Photo: Tadeu Brunelli ATTENTION: Every photo must be published with the author's credit, in its entirety without cuts or modifications, in accordance with Law No. 9,610 of 02/19/1998.
And you there who are reading, what was the most unusual drink you have ever tried? If you want to know more about Rafa’s work and venture into this world, pay a visit to BARÊ, sit on the bench and enjoy:
Alameda Lorena, 1892, Jd. Paulista, São Paulo.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday, from 19h to 24h, Fridays and Saturdays, from 19h to 2h.
Accepts all cards (credit and debit) – Accepts checks – Does not accept meal tickets.
Capacity: 65 seats.
Valet on site: R $ 20.00.
Air conditioning. There is no smoking area. Is there Wi-Fi
Make reservations by phone (11) 3564-2015 / 3564-2016 or by email [email protected]
Website: www.barejardins.com.br

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