Accompanying the father in the purchase of fish when this product arrived at the auction and the deep connection to sea life during childhood weighed in the decision of Pedro Bastos who, in 1999, at the age of 20, founded Nutrifresco.
Texto de Patrícia Serrado
Fotografias de Fabrice Demoulin
Accompanying the father in the purchase of fish when this product arrived at the auction and the deep connection to sea life during childhood weighed in the decision of Pedro Bastos who, in 1999, at the age of 20, founded Nutrifresco. The family business associated with the supply of fish and seafood has long been in the mouths of the country and the world.
He attended the Biochemistry course - "choice related to this passion" -, when he created Nutrifresco, a company that grew visibly in two decades, thanks to the marine heritage of the Portuguese coast and globalization, which allows the transport of the most diverse products from elsewhere on the planet. According to Pedro Bastos, managing partner, the portfolio of his company covers between 180 and 200 species between Portuguese and foreign, among hundreds of articles created, that is, parameters established within the scope of how the catching or fishing of each of these species.
What has changed from 1999 until today? “In the past, lobster, for example, was a more elitist product. Today, it is the bivalves that are most valued for the sensations of salt air that they cause, as well as fish, in general, due to two factors, gastronomic and nutritional, but also because of cultural identity”, he explains. This scenario makes sense for Pedro Bastos since we have the conditions that, taken as a whole, contribute to the increase in the decisive demand in terms of fish, be it the enormous extent of the sea and the climate as well as the traditional recipes, with grills and stews.
What is also certain is the progressive importance attributed to the culinary legacy of the Portuguese regions by chefs in Portugal, an action that has been contributing to the paradigm shift. “They prefer, more and more, what is ours, what is Portuguese” and “the fish is worth it for its freshness. It is worth more than any label”, reinforces Pedro Bastos on this subject, pointing out “seasonality and the right physical condition of the fish” as two conditions for the success of a meal.
"Today, chefs try, whenever possible, to follow our suggestions" and "they try to interact with the supplier, who, in turn, forms the bridge with the producer". The result is evidenced by the growing “pedagogical advice” made by chefs of fine dining restaurants and in other catering spaces where the knowledge of cooks is equally superlative.
About “the right physical condition of the fish”, Pedro Bastos names - one by one - the characteristics associated with the freshness of this raw material: the intensity of the colors; glow in the body, that is, the mucus has to be translucent, shiny, and that, when caught, feel that it is slippery; red gill; eyes must be lively; the viscera must smell like the sea; aligned and perfect scales; fins intact, body stiffness.
In addition to catering in Portugal, one of Nutrifresco's main customers, which allows it to “cover the entire Portuguese coast”, the fish and seafood from this family-owned company is exported to ten countries, with Europeans receiving the largest share of exports - Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, among others - in addition to the United States and Dubai (emirate belonging to the United Arab Emirates).