Teresa Corção is President of Instituto Maniva (www.institutomaniva.org), an organization that protects and promotes the quality of food produced by the smaller farms of Brazil. She is also the chef and owner of the restaurant O Navegador in Rio de Janeiro.
After joining the Slow Food Movement in 2001, Teresa started Projeto Mandioca in 2002 in order to teach public school children from the slums about manioc, an important Brazilian heritage food. Using history, folklore, and cooking classes, Teresa taught children how to prepare tapiocas and mandioca cr̻pes, while also simultaneously teaching them about their culture.
Partnering with the film director Manuel Carvalho, Teresa made a documentary in 2004 entitled The Manioc Flour Professor about a manioc producer in the Amazon. This documentary was shown in Dallas, Texas, as part of the 2005 Convention of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. The team made a second documentary, Mr. Bené Goes to Italy, which was exhibited at the Slow Food on Film festival and at the 2008 International Berlin Film Festival.
As a result of the films’ popularity, Teresa founded the Instituto Maniva in 2007 to protect and promote Brazilian food culture through films, TV shows and cooking classes for youngsters and children.
Teresa joined several well-known chefs in Rio to found the group Ecochefs in 2009, which became the heart of Maniva. Led by Teresa, Ecochefs Maniva catalyzed changes in production within the Brazilian food chain. In 2011, Ecochefs Maniva began to work side by side with organic family agriculture farmers in the Jardim Bot̢nico farmers market, which is part of the Circuito Carioca de Feiras Org̢nicas, in partnership with the Associação Biolólica de Agricultores Familiares do Rio de Janeiro.
A self-taught chef, Teresa graduated from Pontifócia Universidade Católica PUC- RJ in 1975 with a degree in graphic design. She fell in love with cooking during her two year stay in London, where she initially realized the strong connection between food and culture.
Later she joined her sister in Rio, who had just opened a restaurant O Navegador, a well-known place in downtown Rio. Here she began to research original and ethnic Brazilian cuisine long before it became fashionable.
For her efforts she has received the Santander Bank Prize for Outstanding Programs for her Amazonic manioc flour project in Bragança, Pará In 2009. She has also been awarded the IACP Social Achievment Award and Prazeres da Mesa Responsabilidade Social in 2010, and the Rio Show Gastronomia-Destaque do Ano em in 2012.