Carlos Carrerira beamed with pride last Wednesday evening as he started to introduce his daughter before the assembled throng of media and San Jose officials gathered at his family’s Adega restaurant for a celebratory dinner.
“This all started when my daughter decided to skip UCLA and go to cooking school instead,” he said with a smile.
This referred to the little restaurant that could, and how. Last year, before it even turned a year old, the Portuguese restaurant in the working-class neighborhood of Little Portugal garnered the first Michelin star ever in San Jose.
When Carreira’s daughter, Pastry Chef Jessica Carreira, who oversees the restaurant with her fiance, Chef David Costa, stepped into the dining room, she was greeted with a standing ovation.
Tears welled in her eyes, as the applause went on and on.
As her father explained, when his daughter got the idea to open a restaurant with his help along with his wife’s, Fernanda, he assumed she would do so in San Francisco or Palo Alto or Los Gatos. But she stuck to her guns. Jessica only wanted to open in the neighborhood she grew up in, and which she still calls home.
Her instincts and loyalty paid off when Michelin put them on the global map. “It’s been so great,” she says. “We went from a secret foodie destination to a boom of people knowing about us, even in Portugal.”