Paula Labaki was born at the country region of Bocaina/São Paulo in Brazil, in a centenary coffee and cattle farm where she lived until her sixteenth’s. She learnt the traditional cooking techniques in a natural and healthy way. Today she makes authorial cuisine with a lot of property, using several acquired techniques and others that she has developed, always focused on the taste, freshness and origin of ingredients.
Paula began her career working in several restaurants in São Paulo, attended cookery school and worked at the O’Hungry restaurant, also being a partner at Sale & Pepe House. For 17 years she has organized events for different audiences under the most varied formats with her own catering company “Lena Labaki Catering”.
Her career transcended national borders, so she is the only Brazilian professional among Peruvian, Argentine, Uruguayan and Chilean chefs to compose the group of “Chefs de Sud America”. Paula is one of the first Pitmasters in Brazil, she is part of the select group of barbecue masters who divulge the meat, coals and preparations throughout the national territory and overseas.
Cooking with fire is her main passion, no doubt! Whether on the wood stove, on the grill, on the ground fire or in the underground, the dishes of Paula Labaki always bring the ingredient in the first place, together with an impeccable presentation. “A dish has three important moments: the visuals, the aroma and the taste – the three have to be in harmony to tell what is the meaning of the recipe”, explains the chef. And she also be known as the “Queen of Fire”in Brazil.
As a consultant, she prepared menus and trained teams for various restaurants in São Paulo, Brasilia, Recife, Goiânia, other countries like Chile and for events such as Cirque du Soleil and Dinner in the Sky. She was part of the jury in one of the stages of the BBQ Brasil tv show, and during several seasons she did consulting for the Brazilian version of Masterchef.
Paula participates in several meat and barbecue festivals inside Brazil and overseas, during which she uses the most varied types of preparation and fires and playing different roles: from planning and supervising events with a focus on gastronomy to the real hands-on cooking. She attends the FIA Endurance World Championship, serving lunches and dinners for all teams from European countries.
Paula is also present in several street food festivals with her innovative menus and always working with meat, one of her great specialties and passions.
One of Paula’s greatest pleasures is to share what she learned over the years during classes and workshops, where she shows her story of dedication, charisma and passion in each plate. Paula Labaki even has an extensive experience in gastronomic production for photos and videos, and has taken courses in the USA where she learned techniques on food photography and styling. In her catering company Paula has a studio for photos and videos, with a huge collection of crockery, cutlery, utensils and higher technology equipment that were brought from around the world for research and production of media. Among her food stylist work there is material produced for magazines, books, TV shows, restaurants and large companies like Starbucks, Sadia, Perdigão and Helmanns Worldwide.