Davi Laranjeira is a vivid example of someone who followed his heart and found his true passion in gastronomy. After a decade dedicated to technology, working at renowned companies such as UOL and IBM, Davi realized that something vital was missing in his professional life: passion for what he did. It was then that he decided to take a radical turn, abandoning his career in IT and embarking on a culinary journey.
Originally from Guarujá, São Paulo, Davi packed his bags for the capital of São Paulo, where he began his journey at Anhembi Morumbi, financing his studies with FIES and combining them with his work in technology.
Before long, his efforts were rewarded when he won a gastronomic competition and had the opportunity to study at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, thus realizing a long-time dream.
What was the defining moment that made you switch from a career in technology to gastronomy? How has this transition influenced your professional and personal life?
The decisive moment was when I did an internship at Sofitel Jequetimar , in Guarujá, where I asked to do some freelancing with a friend who worked in HR. It was an opportunity to test whether this was what I wanted for my life. At the time, I was already working in IT. I had my own company and worked from Monday to Friday. On Saturday, I went freelancing there and prepared a feijoada. It was an incredible experience. That day, I made the decision to follow this path, around 2010, 2011, when I thought: ‘I want this for my life, but not just as a hobby’.
It was from that moment that I began to glimpse the possibilities in the area of gastronomy. I then decided to move to São Paulo and study Gastronomy at Anhembi Morumbi. I visited other colleges, such as Senac, to understand which would be the best option for my needs. I realized that I needed a solid degree to enter the industry, as until then my experience had been limited to family culinary hobbies.
I chose Anhembi and managed to finance my studies through FIES, as I was unable to afford the costs. I came to São Paulo still working with IT, balancing both activities. It was only during college that I made the transition to starting to work exclusively with gastronomy.
What was your experience like studying at Le Cordon Bleu Paris and how did it shape your approach and passion for cooking?
The experience at Le Cordon Bleu Paris was incredible. Being at the cradle of world gastronomy, in the first school in the world, where all techniques are compiled, organized and structured, was sensational. I took an intensive one-week course in French regional cuisine and was able to experience up close the care and knowledge that permeates French gastronomy.
It wasn’t just Le Cordon Bleu that impressed me, but the entire city of Paris and its food culture. I realized that what I studied in Brazil was universal. All the investment I made here proved to be valid anywhere in the world. When I attended classes at Le Cordon Bleu, I realized that I perfectly understood the technical gastronomic language and that everything I learned here worked anywhere, especially there. Furthermore, it was a unique experience to take classes in Paris, with a French chef teaching about local cuisine. It was an immersion in the birthplace of gastronomic techniques.
Among your various positions in renowned companies, which one had the biggest impact on your training as a gastronomy professional? Why?
Of the companies I worked for, I highlight the large industries where I worked as a gastronomic business consultant. I provided consultancy for renowned clients, serving some of the largest chains in the world, such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Outback, Habib’s , Giraffas, Bobs, Pizza Hut, among others. I had the opportunity to work with practically all of them.
Additionally, I worked as a consultant for renowned companies such as Unilever, Mackenzie, Sadia, Perdigão and Nestlé. Of these, Nestlé stands out for being the largest food industry in the world. It was there that I had a significant impact, learning and absorbing knowledge that contributed to expanding my gastronomic business. Working at Nestlé allowed me to understand the essence of gastronomic consultancy in its entirety.
You emphasize the importance of changing the world through food. How do you see the role of chefs and gastronomic influencers in raising awareness about the food we consume?
The idea of changing the world through food is fundamental, after all, we are what we consume. What we eat affects both our mind and body, making awareness of our food choices crucial. Nowadays, with so many options and advances in the food industry, we often lose control of what we are actually eating.
The path to better health and weight control lies in preparing our own food and choosing real foods. But it’s not enough to just cook, it’s essential to use the correct techniques. By doing so, we preserve nutrients, providing greater satiety, health and weight control, preventing obesity.
What we ingest nourishes our body and mind, positively influencing our hormones and mood. This approach creates a virtuous cycle of physical and mental health. My main objective is to disseminate the truth about food and promote health and weight loss through diet. Teach people the importance of knowing what they are consuming and how to prepare food correctly, so that they can enjoy all the nutritional benefits.
What were the most significant challenges you faced when establishing yourself as an entrepreneur in the restaurant industry?
One of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs is making investments and reinvesting in their own business to achieve the desired growth. This is a common difficulty for all entrepreneurs, as it requires the ability to generate revenue to expand the business.
When reinvesting in business, it is important to use the profit for personal matters as well. However, dealing with bureaucracy, taxes and constantly adapting strategies are recurring obstacles. The objective is to ensure that the business advances and grows, reinvesting profits to expand further.
In the digital environment, the challenges are similar to those faced by entrepreneurs in Brazil. It is necessary to deal with bureaucracy and taxes, in addition to finding effective ways to sell products and engage customers to increase sales and, thus, reinvest in the business.
Can you share a little about the experience of participating in the “Chef of the Future” Gastronomic Competition and how it impacted your professional career?
The ‘Future Boss’ competition was a significant milestone in my career, both professionally and personally. Winning this competition while still studying gastronomy was a transformative experience. After working for around 10 years in the IT area, without major advances, this achievement represented a new beginning for me. Although I had success in large companies and even founded my own company, it was after winning this gastronomic competition, in my first year of college, and studying at the largest gastronomy school in the world in just a year and a half, that I realized I had gone further than in my entire previous career.
This victory had a profound impact on my confidence and knowledge, reinforcing my conviction that gastronomy was truly my path. Furthermore, it has provided me with a wide range of opportunities. It opened doors for me to become a gastronomic consultant, an aspiration I already had, but whose paths were not clear. Before long, he was working as a consultant at one of the largest food companies in the world, BRF, a leader in the production of poultry, chicken and pork, owner of brands such as Sadia and Perdigão. Winning this competition not only gave me authority and recognition within the college and the market, but also opened up new horizons and unimaginable opportunities.
How do you see the future of cuisine and gastronomic trends in the coming years? Are there any innovations or movements that you believe we should pay attention to?
In October 2023, I had the opportunity to visit Germany to participate in Anuga , the world’s largest fair for food and beverage trends and innovations, held in Cologne. There, I was able to glimpse the future of food, a scenario marked by several transformations.
Previously, the priority was taste, with nutrition taking second place. Then came the demand for tasty and nutritious food. Today, the emphasis has changed: food needs to be nutritious, beneficial for the body and tasty, as no one wants to consume low-quality food.
In this context, there is a trend towards the complete industrialization of food, including proteins and laboratory meats. However, my mission is to fight this trend and promote the consumption of real foods, the way they have been grown and prepared over the last 200,000 years of human evolution. Valuing agriculture, livestock and small producers is essential in this process. The path to healthy eating involves valuing real food and making people aware of the importance of consuming real food.
What are the core values that guide your approach to creating food content and educating your followers?
The main focus is to promote the truth of food, in addition to encouraging health and weight loss through diet. To achieve this, it is essential to teach people the correct techniques, allowing them to prepare truly nutritious meals. By learning how to cook real food and retain its nutrients, people can significantly improve their health and quality of life. This is the essence of the content I intend to create.
What is the most valuable advice you would like to offer someone who is starting a career in gastronomy and wants to make a difference in the market?
A fundamental piece of advice I share with those in the gastronomy field is that it is not an easy journey. Although the profession is often glamorized on television, the reality is different. It is essential that professionals have authority and invest in digital content. The more people know about their work and understand the potential of the digital world, the better. In addition to mastering aspects related to food, drinks and gastronomic techniques, it is crucial that they also learn about marketing and communication. An example of this is Gordon Ramsay, who not only achieved success because of his culinary skills, but also because he is an excellent communicator and understands marketing and advertising. Ramsay hosts a program within the NFL, which shows how his versatility and knowledge go beyond the kitchen. Therefore, it is important that professionals invest in their personal development, not just the technical aspect.
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