Synopsis: Bourdain explores Minas Gerais, a southeastern Brazilian state known for nurturing some of the best chefs in the world. In the lush highlands of the region, he indulges in heavy, pork-dependent rustic cuisine like slow-cooked stews. There he also gains a deeper understanding of how fundamental the African influence is to Brazil, a country that, Bourdain says, continues to be “deeply divided along racial lines.”

Minas Gerais, the overlooked food capital of Brazil:

“No beach? Hire a water truck. Economy in the shitter? Turn up the music and dance. It’s known here as the ‘little slippery way.’ You adapt. You survive. No matter what, you have a good time. And you don’t go it alone.”

  • “One of the fastest-growing cities in Brazil—in the world, in fact—yet it’s still relatively unknown to the outside world.”
  • “If you travel through Brazil and you talk about food—which I have and I do—you hear about this place. I’ve been told time and again, ‘This is where the best chefs come from.’ The question is, why don’t you hear that outside of Brazil? Why hasn’t the cuisine of Minas caught on worldwide?”

On the region’s profound African influence:

  • “And though Brazil remains a country of rampant inequity, deeply divided along racial lines, African culture saturates all corners of the society. This is especially true of the food.”
  • “Everything Brazilians claim to love is African, right? I mean, music? The food? All of the classic dishes— Everything African is so fundamental to what makes Brazil awesome.”

“This attachment to the idea that French food and Italian food will always be more valuable than your own thing, that’s a ridiculous concept.”

“Give it a French name and they’ll pay.”

Equally quotable sidekicks:

  • Eduardo Maya: “If the boteco’s good, people come from all over town. It’s like a home outside of home.” Luiz Otávio agrees: “It’s group therapy.”
  • Ivo Faria: “At the time, mineiro cuisine was very difficult. The way Brazil developed, most of the time Brazilians didn’t value what was theirs.”  
  • Leo Paixão: “In mineiro cuisine, your grandmother always cooks better than your chef.”
  • Luiz Otavio: “The food from Minas Gerais has nothing to do with the climate.” Anthony Bourdain in response: “You’re right. This is cold weather food.”
  • Bruna Martins: “Mineiro cuisine has always been and always will be made by women.”