Apicius Alum: Cédric Monteiro
Currently working at a Michelin star restaurant in Australia
Cédric Monteiro studied Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry at FUA in 2015 with chefs Andrea Trapani and Simone de Castro, and in 2016 took part in the Internazionali d’Italia in Carrara, Italy, a competition for culinary professionals, as part of the Apicius team. We caught up with him to find out what he has been up to since leaving Florence.
Describe yourself and your passion for the culinary arts.
I am 20 years old, and have had one passion since I was a kid and used to watch my mother while she cooked: the culinary arts. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work for Michelin starred restaurants, where I learned a lot about rigor and about respect for the ingredients I use. I have also paricipated in culinary competitioins to improve on my precision and accuracy. This is how I decided to travel the world, bringing my love for the pastry arts with me, so I could discover new and different kinds of cuisine and products.
What was something you learned about yourself or others through your experience at FUA?
In the beginning I would not have dared to travel to a foreign country, but when I realized that the people of the world are openminded and welcoming, I stopped questioning myself. The unnknown may scare us at first: not knowing what to expect and not knowing the language can be a challenge, but I really loved my time at FUA and I was excited to learn new culinary techniques. Without FUA I don't think that I would have ever been able to make the move to Australia!
This program really helps you to open up to different people and cultures.
What are you working on now?
Currently I live in Australia, where I am learning about new produce and ways of cooking, as well as a new language. One of my favorite dishes to prepare and serve is fish, and in Australia I have been able to discover new local species of fish that come from the Indian Ocean. Here there is a wide variety of options and the fish species are so varied, in taste, shape and most of all color! Some fish are so exotic and interesting to work with.
What are the most valuable skills you acquired through the FUA program?
I am Portuguese, and I did not speak much English when I first arrived in Florence. During my experience I learned to embrace the new cultures that I was exposed to, got to know new people that did not speak my language, and of course my English improved . I made long lasting friendships, and we are still in touch and we reminisce about the great memories that we shared together at FUA.
What is one of those memorable experiences that you look back on fondly?
When I learned to make gnocchi and pizza the Italian way, it was fascinating!
What advice do you have for future FUA students?
Dont' miss out on any opportunity and always have the ambition to do what you love most ! Realiser vos reves !