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8 Portuguese Female Chefs You Should Know

a woman preparing food in a kitchen

When you read about the inspiration of many renowned chefs, they often quote their grandmother’s cooking as a source of inspiration. When you taste someone’s food and you say something along the lines “it tastes just like my mom’s!”, that would generally be a huge compliment.

For centuries, women have been in charge of feeding their families. They are mostly responsible for the survival of traditional recipes passed from generation to generation. Yet, when it comes to the world of professional cooking and celebrity chefs, here in Portugal, just like in most corners of the world, you’d be hardly pressed to find examples of women who’ve been given the recognition many of their male counterparts seem to more easily receive.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, on March 8th, we have decided to highlight 8 Portuguese female chefs you should know! In no particular order, meet the chefs:



Portuguese female chef - Ana Moura

Chef Ana Moura cooks bacalhau like not many can do! This is certainly a huge compliment in cod-obsessed Portugal. Chef Ana Moura has a varied experience in professional kitchens, from pastries (Arzak, in Spain) to fine dining (Eleven and Cave 23, in Portugal). Back in 2019 she opened Bacalhoaria Moderna, which was at the time the only Portuguese restaurant dedicated to the country’s most celebrated ingredient, salted codfish. At Bacalhoaria Moderna, chef Ana Lamelas Moura celebrated the versatility of salted codfish, breathing in some traditional influences but elevating this beloved ingredient past the typical repertoire of old-time recipes. This is the Lisbon address where chef Ana Moura (not to be mistaken with the famous fado singer by the same name) became a reference in the Portuguese dining scene. 

In recent years, Moura left the city in favor of Porto Covo, where her new restaurant, Lamelas, is located. Lamelas is one of her surnames and Porto Covo happens to be where her family origins are. This speaks of the type of cuisine the chef prepares around here: deeply rooted in tradition, with a certain taste of nostalgia, but still managing to incorporate her signature touches which end up elevating the dishes on the menu. At Lamelas you can expect wonderful creations such as grilled tiger prawns with fish sauce and peaches, grouper congee with seaweed and cuttlefish, crab cannelloni, and so much more. The flavors deeply inspired by the nearby sea don’t ever get boring as chef Ana Moura’s creativity seems to keep flowing and she is flexible enough to make very good use of seasonal ingredients. 




Portuguese female chef Joana Duarte

Marine biologist turned cook, Joana Duarte became known in Lisbon’s dining scene as the sous-chef of Tapisco, a restaurant by Portuguese Michelin starred chef Henrique Sá Pessoa. While at Tapisco, chef Joana Duarte and team served a mix of Spanish tapas and Portuguese petiscos – an ideal setting to celebrate the commonalities of both countries small servings while also appreciating their actual differences.

After 6 years studying and working in Barcelona (Roca Moo, Comerc 24, Tapas 24), chef Joana Duarte came back to Portugal and cooked at acclaimed restaurants such as Fortaleza do Guincho. After dishing out the best of the Iberian Peninsula for a few years at Tapisco, chef Ana Duarte started working on her own personal projects, as well as a consulting chef, namely for restaurant and coffee shop Pão de Canela. Besides working as a culinary teacher in Lisbon and Estoril, chef Ana Moura has launched the initiative Rota das Algas, a project about algae harvesting, sustainability and cooking, something which finally brings together her several passions. If while in Portugal you’d like to learn more about how to select and collect edible seaweed and, furthermore, how to use it in the kitchen, you can join Moura’s regular Algae Route day trips, which take place in Ericeira.




Portuguese female chef Marlene Vieira

Chef Marlene Vieira’s mission is to present diner’s with the richness of Portuguese gastronomy. She believes Portuguese edible heritage is bountiful and a key element of the national identity. Her work is meant to keep the legacy alive and well. This translates into the creation of dishes that blend tradition and innovation.

Without forsaking the know-how of yesteryears, chef Marleve Vieira likes to cook, putting the spotlight on local ingredients such as mushrooms, octopus, eggs and local varieties of rice.

While visiting the Portuguese capital, patrons can taste chef Marlene Viera’s dishes at Zunzum Gastrobar, inside tourist favorite Time Out Market, at the Marlene Vieira Na Ribeira food stall, as well as her most recent and homonymous restaurant Marlene, the most elevated of her options. Marlene, is, in the chef’s own words, “the reflection of my memories and convictions, in a mix of tradition and innovation.”




Portuguese female chef Justa Nobre

Way before other female chefs started getting recognition in Portugal, back in the days when cooking at restaurants was an even more male dominated profession, chef Justa Nobre was already in the mouths of many Portuguese.

From the northern province of Trás-os-Montes, chef Justa Nobre’s signature cuisine has never stopped incorporating influences that trace back to her origins. After more than 3 decades of leading kitchens, chef Justa Nobre’s recipes have never stopped evolving, but the essence of her cuisine stays intact, always giving preference to seasonal ingredients when flavor is at its prime.

When we speak about traditional food with a creative twist in the Portuguese food scene, chef Justa Nobre always comes to mind. You can taste her food at O Nobre by Justa Nobre, in the heart of Lisbon, where every Sunday the best of our national traditions are served buffet style, with a stunning display of all-you-can-eat cozido à portuguesa.




Portuguese female chef Noelia Jeronimo

It’s refreshing to find one of the country’s leading female chefs away from the capital. Chef Noélia Jerónimo, also famous because of her role as one of the presenters and judges of acclaimed TV cooking competition Masterchef Portugal, leads the kitchen of Noélia. It’s a well-known fact that many Portuguese chefs love to dine here, in this Algarve based address, in the town of Tavira, where you can easily feel almost as if you were dining as a guest in the chef’s own home.

In her informal and welcoming restaurant, chef Noélia Jerónimo presents dishes that translate the Algarve into edible form. Ingredients such as octopus, cuttlefish, cured tuna, clams and whatever is fresh from the market and catches the chef’s attention, make an appearance on the table.

Dishes cooked with technique and precision, but that come across as easygoing and soulful. True Mediterranean cooking with a bonafide Algarve seal, brought to you by self-taught chef Noélia Jerónimo!




Portuguese female chef Manuela Brandão

More than a Lisbon based restaurant, Pap’Açôrda is a local food institution. For over 35 years, chef Manuela Brandão is the master behind the stoves, responsible for cooking dishes many locals and visitors crave.

Proud of her sense of taste, which she started developing as a kid growing up in the region of Trás-os Montes, chef Manuela Brandão is all about Portuguese food, in the most traditional ways. If you were to have only one meal in Lisbon and would like for it to be a good representation of what Portugal has to offer food wise, Pap’Açorda would be a good bet!

Expect iconic dishes such as cabidela (rice with braised chicken and blood), açorda (Portuguese bread stew), petiscos that taste like they should but are presented in an attractive contemporary way and, as many would state, “the best chocolate mousse in the country”!

🌐 ​​



Portuguese female chef Luisa Fernandes

It may sound cheesy, but chef Luisa Fernandes’ story is one of those that will make you believe it is never too late to follow your dreams! After working as a nurse for 30 years, chef Luisinha, as she is dearly referred to, decided that food was her calling.

Her career took off at the Lisbon based Peixe na Avenida, where her travel inspired cuisine started being praised by diners and restaurant critics alike. At Peixe na Avenida, chef Luisinha used to delight Lisboners with her seafood dishes with clear influences from parts of the world the Portuguese have historically been linked to. Think flavor packed recipes such as Goan prawn curry, sea bass with fava beans and chorizo and Brazilian moqueca. Desserts such as the decadent chocolate mousse with crispy bacon clearly also speak of the influences chef Luisinha’s own travels have also had in her cuisine, in this case, after spending some time in New York City.

At the moment, chef Luisa Fernandes manages the kitchen of Pôsto da Onda, a trendy restaurant at Praia do Rei in the coastal town of Costa da Caparica. As chef Luisinha’s has gotten us used to, the menu is heavily based on fish and seafood specialities, from simple fish grills to internationally inspired ceviches, and more. There are two distinct menus at Pôsto da Onda, one revolving around petiscos for sharing, and the other one embracing the beauty of Portuguese comfort food.




Portuguese female chef Ana Raminho

Chef Ana Raminhos, who is one of Portugal’s most promising young chefs, used to be in charge of desserts at Os Gazeteiros. At this Lisbon based restaurant, that serves an ever-changing tasting menu, chef Raminhos seemingly never ending creativity could definitely shine through.

In 2022, the chef opened her own establishment, Raminhos Desserts, which is Portugal’s first ever desserts only restaurant. This sweet and daring project gives those with a sweet tooth the opportunity to not only enjoy chef Ana Raminhos’ delicate creations, they can even do so as a part of highly curated tasting menus, featuring a variety of desserts and pairing with either natural wines or teas. 

Beyond her more obvious work as a sweet dish creator, she is also the innovator behind Exercício Experimental da Liberdade. In the chef’s own words, this is a “project that revolves around the act of eating”. Her pastry focused performances have been attracting attention in the Portuguese gastronomic scene. During these food based exercises the chef can break free from the limitations of creating desserts meant to be presented on a plate, and ends up taking the revolving space as a canvas for her edible creations. Curiosity, creativity and a certain dose of restlessness are served when we speak about chef Ana Raminhos!



We believe that, as long as that is what she wants, a woman’s place can indeed be in the kitchen. Not necessarily behind closed doors, though. But empowered and in charge! In charge of an entire team of cooks. In charge of developing new recipes and food concepts. In charge of rediscovering traditional ingredients and making them well-known in a contemporary setting. In charge of whatever they want. And, in this case, also in charge of taking Portuguese food to the next level!


Feed your curiosity on Portuguese food culture:

Chefs who are taking Portuguese food to the next level

Best restaurants to eat contemporary Portuguese food in Lisbon

5 coolest markets in Lisbon

10 ways to feel like a local in Lisbon


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