I’m super excited to present Ronaldo’s interview today. Ronaldo’s journey is an amazing and inspiring story beginning in Sao Paulo and ending on the Gold Coast. Ronaldo has an impressive background and is a qualified nutritionist, healthy chef, personal trainer, motivational speaker and author. Of course having Brazilian good looks helps! Read on to find out where Ronaldo likes to hang out during his down time, what he enjoys eating and his recommended Gold Coast spots…
Where are you from originally?
I’m from Brazil, born in the state of Sao Paulo.
How did you end up living on the Gold Coast and how long have you been here?
I came to Australia in 2006 with the goal of staying for one year. I lived in Brisbane for about 8 months and moved to the Gold Coast in December of that year and never left. It’s been almost 10 years now.
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Did you always want to be a chef or did you just fall into the industry?
I’ve been working as a qualified nutritionist for 10 years, although food has always been a passion of mine. I’ve always had natural talent in the kitchen and often thought that I could become a chef. When I arrived in Australia, my first job was as a kitchen hand and due to my natural cooking abilities, my head chef and boss at the time decided to train me as a cook. Within the year, I was promoted to head chef and the rest is history.
How and why did you start working at The Smoothie Shack?
I worked as a sales rep for a company called Amazonia, which imports the acai berry. Incidentally, I delivered a box of acai to the owner of Smoothie Shack. I introduced myself and we started talking about his business and how he wanted to develop a new healthy food menu. Naturally, as a nutritionist and chef, I became really interested and convinced him to give me three months to develop his business. We shook hands and have been friends ever since… and that was almost five years ago.
Why did you decide to study nutrition? How has your studies influenced your cooking and your life?
I studied nutrition because of my childhood battle with weight issues. After learning about food and exercise and applying it to my life, I lost a huge amount of weight. Ever since, I’ve loved nutritional science and went to university to pursue a career as a nutritionist. Nutrition has influenced every step of my journey personally and professionally. I’ve always incorporated my knowledge into my cooking and recipes so that I can help others live a better life.
You’ve written two recipe books so far, are there plans for more books in the future? Have you thought about writing a recipe book for kids meals?
Yes, I have plans to write more books for sure; one of them being a cookbook for kids and teenagers. I love teaching kids to eat healthily. However, right now I’m quite busy speaking at various events and filming cooking videos for parents, so the book may only be finished by 2017.
So how popular have your meals been at The Smoothie Shack and what’s the top selling dish?
My meals have been pretty popular and sell very well. The most popular dishes are my thai chicken, quinoa salsa and sweet potato mash and my authentic Brazilian black beans, brown rice, salsa and grilled “picanha” steak. We also sell a huge range of ready to eat take-away meals perfect for busy professionals, mums or families.
What are your personal top 5 favourite foods or ingredients and why?
Sushi because I simply love Japanese seafood dishes. I find it very unique and pleasant. Of course an acai bowl which is a traditional Brazilian berry frozen and served with fruit. Marinara Pasta as Italian food is a family tradition because I love anything Italian. Scrambled eggs and sourdough toast; I cannot live without eggs, and I could eat scrambled eggs everyday of my life. Brazilian black beans with rice, salsa and “picanha” steak as this reminds me of home and tastes familiar to me.
What are your top 5 places to eat or drink on the Gold Coast? Your personal recommendations? Any secret new places you’re aware of etc.?
Hellenika, The Fish House, Cambus Wallace, Gemmeli and Social Eating House.
What is your regular comfort meal?
Spaghetti Bolognese is my ultimate comfort food
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Yes, of course. I love pizza and Italian food. I tend to eat it once a week on my days off.
What is your signature dish?
Quinoa salsa is probably the most popular one by demand but I would say my black beans are probably one of my best Brazilian signature dishes.
What is your favourite wine?
Australian Shiraz and Rioja from Spain.
What advice would you give to those wanting to eat healthier? Where do they start and what should they buy?
My first piece of advice is to look for wholesome foods and to limit processed foods. Secondly, I would recommend reducing the amount of animal products or only consuming free range or organic. Thirdly, consulting a nutritionist or health professional can help speed up the process as they can provide you with tons of information. Or investing in a book such as Ronaldo’s Kitchen – The Superpower of Nutrition. I wrote this book specifically for people wanting to learn about the basic principles of nutrition and healthy cooking. You can find Ronaldo’s amazing book, by clicking here.
And lastly, what are the future plans for Ronaldo’s Kitchen?
I guess more recipe books and I’m currently working on a TV show called Ronaldo’s kitchen, which will hopefully be launched in 2016.
So there you have it guys…it just goes to show that determination and a positive attitude can pay off. If you’d like to read more about Ronaldo or check out some of his awesome recipes, please visit his website Ronaldo’s Fulieri. Or if you’d like to visit his cafe and try some of their exciting meals, check out the website The Shack Nobby Beach for more details.
– This interview originally ran in The Gold Coast Post here:
All photos sourced from goldcoastpost.com.au.