Rafael Duarte is originally from Estoril. He discovered his talent when, in the 2nd year of the Degree in Hotel Management and Management at ESHTE-Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo do Estoril, he started working at the Midori restaurant, at Penha Longa Resort, under the baton of Chef Pedro Almeida, with a menu with reference to Japanese cuisine.
After completing his degree, and during his stay at Midori, the opportunity arose to carry out a Cross Training in Tenerife, at the Kabuki restaurant, also offering Japanese cuisine, awarded with 1 Michelin star.
The passion for gastronomy emerged when he was still taking the first steps on his path, and so, with determination, thirst for knowledge, commitment and dedication, he took advantage of this Cross Training to consolidate acquired knowledge and open new horizons.
The next trip was to London. In London, he stopped by SushiSamba, where Chef Cláudio Cardoso opened the doors for him to this new adventure. This was followed by Lima Fitzrovia (1 Michelin star) and the opening of Chicama London. The collaboration with the restaurant The Dining Room – Japanese Grill followed, where he remained as the right-hand man of the renowned Japanese Chef Taiji Maruyama. His visit to internationally renowned restaurants in London made him fall in love with Peruvian cuisine, with a signature that features exotic ingredients, vibrant colors, unique flavors and a different culture. It was 5 years across borders with the aim of feeding their knowledge.
The return to Portugal did not take long.
The love for Japanese cuisine, which led Chef Rafael Duarte to choose his professional career, and the discovery of the extraordinary offer of ingredients, flavors and colors of Peruvian cuisine, made him have the courage to return to Portugal and develop the Pátio da Grace to, in a refined and simple way, make Street Food Nikkei known.