Portuguese cuisine is on the world’s lips. And, this time, in San Jose, in California, Adega, a traditional Portuguese restaurant, has been awarded a Michelin star. It was pastry chef Jessica Carreira’s idea to open this space, right in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Now just 23, Jessica was born in the United States of America and studied culinary arts in Los Angeles. She worked in kitchens and restaurants in Portugal for three years. Once back in the States she felt like opening a restaurant with Portuguese flavours. She invited chef David Costa, her husband, to join her on this adventure, which he gladly did. Adega came into being. Fears that ‘things could go badly’ were never an issue. Jessica and the team were aware of the talent of chefs and, above all else, of the place in which they were investing in Adega, where everything seemed to prove successful. They knew the project was like no other. And garnering a Michelin star is proof of this success.
And it was all so simple, right from the outset. «It was all so easy and quick, from the permits, to the building work and to the opening date», explains Carlos Carreira, father of the young pastry chef. Being recognised by the Michelin Guide, ten months after the restaurant had opened, was just reward for the work and investment made by the chefs in foreign lands. An investment in Portuguese food of exceptional quality. To date, no restaurant had ever been recognised by Michelin, and this feat has provided a landmark in the city’s history.
The chefs’ pride is clear to see: «It’s difficult to take it in when I remember that, at just 23, I am the youngest woman chef ever to be recognised by the guide», Jessica tells us. «Getting the star in just 10 months was very gratifying. Adega has allowed me to do just what I have always wanted to do professionally», David Costa explains.
Everyone is satisfied by Adega’s progress and feel proud to take the best of Portugal around the globe and in this case to California. «I will never forget the moment when the chefs got the call from the Michelin Guide», Carlos says with pride. They have also received calls and messages of congratulations from some of the best chefs in the USA. Carlos also adds that now everyone wants to know where the chefs come from, what Portugal is like, and if it’s worth visiting, if it’s safe…
With a kitchen that is simple, yet diverse in ingredients and complex in tastes, this award-winning eatery has brought new, unique and refined flavours to San Jose. And, of course, the menu wouldn’t be right without fish, a (Portuguese) national treasure. Adega is even taking reservations three months in advance and enjoys a clientele that spans the globe. The next step is simple: «changing nothing, carrying on with what we’ve been doing up to now and, of course, becoming the first Portuguese restaurant, outside Portugal, to have two Michelin stars», Carlos hopes.
Fairy tale or not, what is certain is that Adega already boasts one Michelin star. And whether we’re talking about Polvo à Lagareiro, Arroz de Pato, Bife à Portuguesa or Bacalhau, in this restaurant every dish is treated with the utmost care.