By Mark Namaswa
Upon coming to Kenya in 2007, Jonny Zanrosso realized the need for Brazilian cuisine in Nairobi. Bringing the South American party spirit with him, he teamed up with a business partner and set up Fogo Gaucho Churrascaria in Westlands. The restaurant superbly combines the cowboy spirit, live music (Friday nights and Sunday lunches), good food and drink.
Conveniently located along Waiyaki Way, over time it has emerged to become the city’s favorite Brazilian Steak House that offers over a dozen meaty cuts, 20-plus varied salads and a magnificently stocked wine bar to complete the picture. There’s also lots of dining room that can accommodate up to 250 people at a go.
Parking space and a peaceful environment should be the least of your worries given the ample and secure gated space plus fine ambience designed for your comfort. And the enthusiastic staff will ensure there’s everything for everyone guaranteeing you top class service and a memorable dining experience.
What food orders top the list at Fogo Gaucho?
Our clients typically go for meaty foods like beef ribs, crocodile meat, chicken legs and grilled prawns but we sometimes get requests for salads, parmesan cheese, french fries and fried bananas.
How do you prepare good beef ribs?
With about five kilos of well cut beef ribs, you wrap them in aluminium foil then place in a charcoal oven. The grilling process takes about eight hours during which constant monitoring of heat is required. You can poke at the meat with a knife to see whether it has softened enough and also taste it. The aluminium foil retains the heat and ensures the beef is evenly grilled.
Who do you look up to as a remarkable chef in the industry?
My elder brother, Chef Joao Carlos. I admire his ability to double up as a butcher as well as a chef. He can expertly cut up steaks along fibers and proceed to make a nice meal out of them. He started off in Sao Paolo then headed to the United States.
What drew you to work as a chef?
Of course my family background. I grew up in Romelandia Ranch in Santa Catarina, southern Brazil where my dad liked preparing steaks like beef ribs and inviting friends and family to share. We call them Costela de Boi. I took after him and headed to Sao Paolo’s restaurants to begin my career.
Is sweet aroma a reliable indicator that the food will be equally nice?
Not always and I don’t believe in first impressions. The surest way for me is to taste the food first especially when in business where quality comes first. My mouth is the ultimate judge.
Do you holiday? What’s your favorite destination?
I do holiday at home in Brazil in the ranch. With horse riding, partying, the rodeo and simple life, I feel very connected to my roots, family members and everything. I find it very fulfilling.
What secret do chefs keep away from their clients?
We never show clients when we suffer to please them. The heat in the kitchen and the strain of working hard to satisfy clients almost overwhelms most chefs but we come out smiling and hide it. Our happiness and relief is finally attained when clients beam with satisfaction.
Fogo Gaucho Churrascaria is located at Viking House, Westlands. For reservations book online on www.eatout.co.ke/Fogogaucho