On Friday, TIME Magazine will publish its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and while they’ve included chef-ly figures in the past (David Chang, Rene Redzepi, and José Andrés, for instance,) this year they will honor Amazonian forager and Brazilian avant-garde chef Alex Atala.
At his São Paulo restaurant D.O.M, Atala, who boasts the most awesome backstory we’ve ever seen (Chang himself thinks he’s cooler than The Most Interesting Man In The World), is known for bringing the strangest ingredients out of the Amazon rainforest and shocking his diners with them. But as Redzepi, his Danish counterpart who wrote Atala’s blurb in this year’s TIME 100 list, described him:
Alex is a striking figure, with his skull tattoos and piercings, his flaming hair and beard. He is also one of the most dedicated people I have encountered in our industry. Selflessly, he has surrendered to the enormous task of shaping a better food culture for Latin America. His philosophy of using native Brazilian ingredients in haute cuisine has mesmerized the continent.
With this award, Atala is now as important as Aung San Suu Kyi, Jay-Z, and Jennifer Lawrence. (We also just found this photo, and seriously, Atala and J-Law should be best friends.)
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