Os Lusíadas, the epic poem by Luís de Camões, and a trip to Goa inspired Diogo Alexandre to create the winning dessert.
The weeks he lived in India last year as part of a protocol between Turismo de Portugal and the V.M. Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education in Goa left a big impression on Diogo Alexandre, a final-year student in the Kitchen Management and Production course at the Algarve School of Hotel and Tourism (EHTA).
The young aspiring chef was the EHTA representative in the National Literary Pastry Competition, a competition the Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo do Oeste promoted on January 24 and 25, bringing together students from various professional schools nationwide.
Fascinated by Indian culture, Diogo Alexandre chose the most famous Portuguese literary work, Os Lusíadas by Luís de Camões, to use what he considers the “magic of spices”, the starting point for his creation.
“The magic of spices made me fall in love with Indian culture. I challenged myself in this competition by pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I created a dessert based on Os Lusíadas, the discovery of the sea route to India. I called it Tormenta Sensorial (Sensory Storm) precisely because it represents the dangers the Portuguese faced to discover India”, says Diogo Alexandre.
Portugal and India are in perfect harmony in this dessert, born from the creativity and talent of the Algarve student. Shaped like a Portuguese caravel, the ice cream combines saffron, coconut and lime filaments. The sandy and crunchy base consists of a crumble with a fusion of Portuguese and Indian products: Portuguese almonds, cinnamon and Indian coconut chips. There is also fresh apple in an infusion of spices.
Students participate in these competitions as part of the EHTA’s training model, as well as 11 other schools that make up the network of educational establishments of the Turismo de Portugal.
Mariline Pinguinha, instructor and pastry chef, was Diogo Alexandre’s advisor in this National Competition and highlights the importance of competitions in the growth of these future Tourism professionals:
“These competitions are an open door to make yourself known to the world, show your skills and socialise. You meet other chefs and influential people, learn a little more from everyone, and make friends for life. I always advise students to take advantage of these opportunities because they are an ignition for any career”.
The student from the Algarve Hotel and Tourism School was also the competitor with the highest score in this competition, divided into two categories – Literary Works and Music.
With just two weeks to finish his course, Diogo Alexandre ends his training at the EHTA with a flourish.