Potiguar has become a highlight in US gastronomy – 05/21/2022 – News

Leticia Medeiros


From Serido de Cerro Corá, businesswoman Clija Chait has gained more and more space in the gastronomic market of Los Angeles, in the United States. There, she and her husband Bill Schitt run more than 20 ventures in the fine dining sector, with award-winning kitchens led by celebrity chefs. His life story could easily be the focus of a Hollywood production. The path to reach this level was arduous. Without forgetting its origins, Clija’s newest business is located in São José de Campestre, where the Precioso Supermercado opened on Friday (20).

Clija Chait operates four restaurants, three wine stores, and a chain of bakeries throughout the United States.

Clija Chait operates four restaurants, three wine stores, and a chain of bakeries throughout the United States.

Klija grew up on a farm four hours from Cerro Cora, and comments that the teachings handed down by her grandparents – whom she calls her father and mother – were the basis of her education, central to her gastronomic training. “I grew up in the middle of the bush, picking fruit from the tree, cooking over a wood fire and fishing by hand. We didn’t have refrigerators, my mother would use ropes to hang the fish in the sun and dry it so it wouldn’t spoil. All of these gastronomic techniques were something I learned and put into my life.”

At the age of 15, she came to Natal against the wishes of her parents, where she began working as a nanny and also has experience with Guararapes. She started in the gastronomic field as a waitress and went to work in the administrative district in Italian restaurants in the capital. “I’ve always had a keen gastronomy and this entrepreneurial side of me. My mother sold dulce de leche and took the rest and put it in cups and went out in the middle of the street to sell it. I love to cook, but the administrative district is the most complete part of me.”

At the age of 24, she moved to São Paulo where she met her husband, the famous American restaurant Bill Chet. “Before moving, I felt a lot of negative things happen. I ended up getting into aesthetics because I did what I really wanted to do. I didn’t have an incredible financial situation, I lived there on bass and grew up with this new opportunity. I met my husband in a business meeting Because I also worked in restaurants there.

The relationship continued at a distance until Clija moved permanently to Los Angeles in 2016. In those six years, he enrolled in an accounting course at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) and began working in running the couple’s companies.

He is currently 31 years old, since he left his parents’ house, he has started to govern himself and appreciate this independence. Today, the biggest problem is losing your loved ones.

During the pandemic, this feeling has worsened. In addition, the food sector outside the home was one of the sectors worst affected in this period. “It was so hard, it hurt to see our restaurants closed, built with so much sweat, love and creativity. Then, we have two choices: regret or run to get things done. We become aware of what the government is going to do and we receive a financial incentive. The pandemic has really wiped out some of our restaurants. While he was helping others. We didn’t shut down any unit, but we suffered,” he says.

In a competitive market like Los Angeles, a line designed by entrepreneurs to ensure product and service quality makes all the difference. When asked about the possibility of opening a restaurant in the Buttiguar grounds, Clija ignores the option. “Our lack of presence in the establishment creates a complexity as we believe in excellent service and in the delivery and presentation of excellent food,” he comments. Among her duties, the businesswoman also runs a company for celebrity events.

From Alex Atala to Chicken Donna Fatima

Clija is currently managing the restaurants of Tesse, Mian Taste, Caboco and Fanny. The cuisine ranges from Mediterranean to Chinese, passing through Brazilian food all the way to the Oscar Museum in Los Angeles. In addition, they are partners in Boutellier Wines and Tartine Bakery, an award-winning bakery chain with fourteen locations in the United States and South Korea.

For her, gastronomy is not just about food, but about experience. This view of the world comes from her childhood when she was still living with her grandparents – Dona Ana Maria and Sijo Joao Duarte – who were farmers and worked in the fields. “My father was my biggest inspiration for my work. He always encouraged me so much, he had his own fields and let me grow a small farm. Everything he did for him, he did for me, and my mother taught me the gastronomic part.”

Klija remembers moments from her childhood when she had a little, but she felt she had a lot. “The Northeast being, our people, is something we have to appreciate. In the countryside, people may only have one plate of food, but share it with those in need. You don’t see that in the States. That’s why I eat Alex Atala’s kitchen and also Dona chicken.” Free Fátima at Totóia’s Restaurant.

Sometimes a movie plays in your head when you remember everything that happened and where you were able to get to. Gratitude is the word that drives it. Many years ago, he could barely pay the rent, practically ate only pasta and had moments of rebellion with what was wrong with his life. “I got on my knees and cried, and asked God why, but I didn’t give up. I was crying and the next day I get up and go again,” he says. When she was a girl of six or seven, she highlighted a particular episode, where she watched a plane go by and heard her mother say that she would one day fly higher.

“I remember these lines, I sadly remember the hardships we went through. I remember the time when my mother would wait for the rain to wash clothes on the rocks. I get up and ask what was for breakfast and she replied ‘Daughter, today there is nothing, go fishing and find guavas.’ Today, I can Helping my parents and all I do is for them. I look into my past and see that God has prepared me in a real way, from my childhood eating dry pappa with flour, until I had the purchasing power by going to Michelin-starred restaurants.”

When she’s not busy with work, among her other interests, she enjoys traveling and meeting new people and has a special appreciation for art and fashion. However, he jokes that he always seeks to attract these topics and associate them with culinary art. For everything he has been through and everyone who lives with him, Klija’s feet never leave the ground. “My message is don’t give up. Every day, I wake up in the morning, and if I have a goal, I speak it out loud because I want to know it. I will achieve, I want to achieve, and I won’t stop until I achieve it” .

A new project will be in the countryside of the state

Passing through Brazil, it inaugurated on Friday (20) its latest project: the first unit of the Precioso Supermercados in São José do Campestre. The concept of the place is a “boutique” environment on just over 300 square metres, with plans to expand elsewhere in the state. The business grew out of a partnership between Clija and her old friend, manager Priscilla Costa.

The purpose of the project is to provide people in the interior with a different concept of what shopping is. For this purpose, Precioso has a variety of products in the areas of grocery, hortifruti, cleaning and bakery, in addition to having fair prices and home delivery. The first unit will work for professionals both locally and in neighboring cities, striving for service excellence.

According to her, the idealization of the project glorifies and celebrates the culture and history of the peoples of the Northeast and Srtanejo. “Priscilla worked with me for a long time and we had this idea to do something together. My desire was to stay in the food business and we decided to set up a supermarket. We prefer to start in São José de Campestre because she lives there. We invested in something that is beautiful but accessible to the public because it is made of For them. I intend to come back to pay back what the people here have done for me during such difficult periods of life,” says the businesswoman.

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