Rui Paula | Profile
Rui Paula was born in Oporto in 1967, but was at Alijó, in Douro, on holidays in the family home, that he developed an early love for cooking, influenced by a strong connection to his maternal grandmother and the foods that she prepared, based on old recipes and in the use of local products.
In this time of original innocence, Rui Paula kept an impressive and nostalgic memory of tastes, smells and texture, which would be crucial in deciding, in 1994, to open together with his wife, Cristina Canelas, the Cêpa Torta restaurant in Alijó . Rui Paula began there, as an autodidact, a journey of inspired, traditional and regional cuisine with a a modern and distinctive flair.
The desire to increase his knowledge and extend his gastronomic references led him to pass some seasons with renowned national and foreign chefs. In 2007, in partnership with his brother Pedro, Rui Paula opened DOC restaurant, from a building situated in the contemporary lines of the Folgosa pier, through the road that runs alongside the Douro River, between Régua and Pinhão. Soon developing a kitchen up to the greatness of the scenery, Rui Paula and his team transformed DOC in a modern and cosmopolitan space, an essential meeting point for those who live or travel in the Douro region, a place of choice between food , wine and scenery.
In the first quarter of 2010, accompanied by his family, Rui Paula opened the DOP restaurant in the Palace of Arts, in the Oporto historic area. It’s a return to the origins, based on the challenge of creating a distinct restaurant in this city. A city of bourgeois and cosmopolitan tradition, bearing the name of fine wine produced in the Douro, with whom shares the title of World Heritage.
In 2011 Rui Paula accepts the challenge of being the Consultant Chef of the renewed Vidago Palace Hotel, considered one of the most famous historic luxury hotels in Portugal. 100 years after its inauguration, Vidago Palace was recovered by the work of award-winning interior architects José Pedro Lopes Vieira and Diogo Rosa lã, and enriched with an exquisite spa designed by internationally renowned architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. Together they reconstructed an era of splendor through a meticulous restoration complemented by modern luxuries. Thanks to their efforts, the Vidago Palace can proudly claim its position as an European luxury hotel, golf resort and spa of international standard.
Rui Paula moves forward with a new project in Recife, a partnership with businessman João Carlos Pais Mendonça, president and founder of JCPM Group. The opening of this restaurant in the luxurious shopping Riomar happened in October 2013.
In 2014 Rui Paula integrates the Masterchef Jury (Portuguese edition) and opens a new restaurant in Leca da Palmeira, the Boa Nova Tea House, a famous building, built on the rocks two meters above sea level, near the lighthouse, a work of the renowned architect Siza Vieira, winner of the Pritzker Prize in 1992. The restoration of the building that is a National Monument since 2011, was tutored by Siza Vieira himself.