The story of Saulo, his house and his restaurant is an Amazonian equivalent of the American Dream. Having spent most of his youth working in human resources, management and sales, Saulo could never forget his main inspiration in life, his father. A hard working electrician that used to come home after work and still be in charge of making dinner. Their house was in front of the meeting of the Amazon and the Tapajos rivers, less than 10 miles from the Maicá floodplain, so, fish has never been a problem. Saulo’s father was an excellent cook, and even now, after having got to know most of the haute cuisine techniques, Saulo still considers him as the best cook he’s ever met. Cooking was a pleasure and what made him most happy was to see his friends delight in his original dishes. That passion marked the whole family and made Saulo become who he is today.
“Casa do Saulo”, a monumental wooden restaurant standing on the hill at Carapanari beach, receives up to 600 guests on a Sunday these days. It is the Bucket List restaurant for anyone who comes to Santarem and dozens of people go there every day at least to take photos. The amphitheater he built and gave it his mom’s name is turning into a mecca for all the cooks around Brazil who want to learn more about the ingredients and techniques of the Tapajós Cuisine. The “Vai, Tapajós!” festival that started with a deal between Saulo and Soul Kitchen, a group of chefs from Sao Paulo, is now one of the top 10 New Years eve parties in Brazil, bringing at least 1200 people from across the country to explore Santarem, its cuizine, and its natural beauties.
Basically it all started with Saulo getting tired of the business world, buying a piece of land on the riverbank and turning into a kitesurfing instructor – a sport brought to Santarém by his brother, Erik. Business consulting was part of that life but little reasons existed back then to drag Saulo 10 miles to get to Santarem, leaving his piece of paradise. Kitesurfing lessons and business consulting sessions used to end with a meal – cooking was still quite a hobby for Saulo. That’s when this river boy actually figured there was a much bigger opportunity in his kitchen than in his office or on the white sand of Carapanari beach. So, against all odds of marketing and business management rules he studied and practiced, Saulo opened a restaurant in his house, 16 km away from the town on a very underdeveloped road on July 23rd, 2009.