When the coronavirus pandemic began, Miguel Laffan worked at the Atlântico Bar & Restaurant at the Hotel Intercontinental in Cascais, but the situation did not make life easier for the chef, who was forced to think on a new direction. Given the scenario of fear that the pandemic has caused, Laffan says that “for now it is difficult to return to the romanticism that the restaurant provided to people, they are not at ease.” It is in part, thanks to this conviction, that his new project was born.
1. Once in a while
Turning a difficulty into an opportunity, Laffan created a project of his own that he named: Once in a While, and in the middle of a pandemic that forced us to confinement, Laffan found the freedom he was searching for. The freedom to be out from one place, and being able to cook wherever he wants. Once in a While, born out of a free and creative concept of experimenting flavors, in totally unusual places, a project that is only three months old, but is already surprising
2. A passion for cooking
Ever since he can remember, Chef Miguel Laffan has been passionate about cooking.
His story begins with a complete fascination with restaurants that he frequented with his father from an early age. His mother, English and a good cook, also instilled in him the passion, having, since early, in his house, a good base of Portuguese and international cuisine.
At eight, Miguel already knew spices and culinary specialties by heart. From childhood, he recalls the smell of fresh herbs, the lamb tagine, which his mother made. “I loved it, it’s out of this world”.
Facts that traced the path of this chef who won a Michelin star in 2013, when he worked at the restaurant L’AND Vineyards in Montemor-o-Novo, Alentejo. From then on, in his own words, “his life changed forever.”
3. Gastronomic experiences in improbable places
Miguel Laffan proposes to cook on airplanes, boats, trains, castles, gardens, cellars, and says, laughing, “maybe in a hot air balloon”, an illustrative example of experiences that he calls “disruptive”, and which are key to him.
Therefore, it flies towards freedom, in a creativity that is characteristic of him, drawing idyllic scenarios in his mind, combined with flavors, capable of melting the most demanding tastes.
If you want to have a gastronomic experience that leads you to a level of splendid flavors, know that the chef will also cook at your home, teach cooking classes for groups up to ten people, and if you want, he can also follow you to the market and support you with the shopping.
His customers include aviation companies, politicians, designers, real estate companies, among many others.
4. Chef’s tour
In Once in a While, there is another experience you must try.
Laffan leads gastronomic tours. In this initiative, the chef takes the customer to several restaurants around the country, giving them the opportunity to discover the best dishes and delicacies in Portugal. He can talk about suckling pig, cuttlefish, bream, cheese or wine. What really matters, is that the customer is surprised by the rich Portuguese gastronomic diversity and the flavors. Experiences that stimulate the five senses.
5. The future
In the future, Miguel Laffan wants to combine gastronomic and disruptive experiences, allowing the mix between totally different activities.
As an example, he said that he would like to take customers riding a jet ski on the overwhelming waves of Nazaré, followed by a gastronomic picnic and a hot air balloon ride. These and many other activities can be combined to delight the tourists or any citizen who searches for new and creative experiences.
If you are a gourmet and enjoy really different new experiences, Once in a While is a brand you will never forget.