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Happy Metro: Happiness in a forkful

There are foods that interact with the brain, giving people a sense ofhappinessafter a good forkful of food. Chefs dish to Metro about what they think of the connection between food and happiness.

To satisfy your gluttony or simply deceive the stomach with a sensation of happiness. To do so daily without knowing it. The truth is there are foods that interact with the brain, giving people a sense of happiness. Serotonin, a substance from the nervous system that transmits messages between cells, is responsible for the sense of well-being we feel after a good forkful of food.

But the process of happiness can start much earlier. Let’s think for example about a chef’s happiness during the creation of a good dish. “There has to be a great pleasure in the moment of making it, and what we have in our soul influences a lot of the final result of our cooking,” explain Portuguese Chef José Avillez to Metro.

But what does a chef feel when he finishes a dish? “A great happiness with the smile of a satisfied customer,” he confesses. He adds that this is his true job: “I feed my customers to make them happy, more than to end their hunger.”

Food that are said to be responsible for happiness include “chocolate, fruit, more colourful ones, light meals and easily digestible ones,” nutritionist Florbela Mendes says. “The eyes are the first to eat. Serotonin transmits a sensation of well-being that gives the feeling of happiness,” she explains.

For Chakall, an Argentinean chef working in Lisbon, the food with the most sugar is responsible for the most happiness. “Anything that influences our senses can bring happiness. This is where the relationship between food and well-being comes from,” he says to Metro.

But which food brings happiness to these chefs? “Lots of them... The last one that gave me a great happiness was pork feet that I ate at Salsa e Coentros restaurant,” chef José Avillez tells Metro.

For chef Mafalda Pinto Leite, “the bread that has just left the oven and that had been raised with leaven since early morning, filling the house with a delicious smell” is happiness.

“For me, someone who makes a living from the kitchen, there is no food without happiness. To cook and create for me is to feed,” Leite confesses. And she adds: “I love to cook, so when I’m in the kitchen I forget about the world outside, the problems, the cold.” When she’s finished cooking, what makes her happy is simply “someone who I love who appreciates what I did, just like with my children — when they finally like something different that I just cooked.”

 
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