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MasterChef Brazil Judge Henrique Fogaca Eyes Miami for New Restaurant

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While all eyes are on Brazil and the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazilian star chef Henrique Fogaça is scoping out Miami locations for his first stateside restaurant.

According to an article on the Real Deal, the celebrity toque and Guilherme Fogaça — his brother and business manager — were in town in mid-July to look at sites and meet with developer Silvia Coltrane. They envision opening an 80-to-100-seat eatery with an outdoor space by 2018. 

The brothers are supposed to return to town at the end of this month to settle on a final location. They checked out spaces in North Beach, downtown, Wynwood, and Miami Beach, but Henrique Fogaça told the Real Deal they like North Beach best at the moment.

In his hometown of São Paulo, the 42-year-old chef has two bars and one restaurant, Sal Gastronomia. The eatery has a laid-back vibe, and Fogaça prides himself on serving food at affordable prices. Meats are his specialty, and Sal Gastronomia won a prize for best pork dish in São Paulo. The menu is approachable but with a few twists, such as toast topped with green apple, mint, and octopus vinaigrette, and duck breast in a port wine sauce alongside a parsnip purée, sugar banana, and lemongrass caramel. And like fellow São Paulo-based star chef Alex Atala of Michelin-starred D.O.M, Fogaça is committed to using local ingredients at his restaurant. 

According to Guilherme Fogaça, his brother's Miami restaurant will be much like his Brazilian place but with more of an emphasis on seafood. He also said they plan to spend $4 million on the project. The Fogaças are considering opening at Ocean Terrace, which has yet to begin construction, or another future development by Coltrane in Surfside. What's more, the chef has already signed on to create the menu at Coltrane's recently opened Residence Inn by Marriott in Surfside. 

While in town, the chef, who appeared as a judge on the Brazilian reality TV series MasterChef and is covered in tattoos from the neck down, ate at Estiatorio Milos and Alter and visited Wynwood Walls. He also prepared a meal for Coltrane, former Miami Beach mayor Neisen Kasdin, entrepreneur Felix Sabates, architect Luis Revuelta, and developer Sandor Scher, as well as a few others. A camera crew was present at the intimate dinner party because, among other things, the chef has his own realty TV show called 200 Graus, or 200 Degrees. The show will air this year and will feature Fogaça's quest to secure a Miami location. 

Chef Fogaça loves cooking, rock 'n' roll, tattoos, and motorcycles and is the vocalist of the hardcore band Oitão in his spare time. Images of his family, food, and skulls fill his Instagram account, where he has 884,000 followers. He is married and has a son and baby daughter. 

Follow Valeria Nekhim Lease on Twitter and Instagram.

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