As 2007 came to a close, the hospitality world lost a fine denizen: Chef Fernando da Costa, one of Goa’s best-known chefs, passed away on 6 December, leaving behind an invaluable cultural and culinary legacy.
‘Ferdy’, a professionally trained executive chef, studied at Christ College, Bangalore, when only the ‘bad boys’ went there. He was a talented musician, mastering percussion as easily as he unlocked the secrets of the kitchen. His grin seemed to say “life’s cool, man!” and he had a wicked, tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. More than anything else, however, Ferdy was defined by his fiery passion for all things Goan.
Giving up an international career to open Fernando’s Nostalgia in Raia, Goa, Ferdy dedicated his time to keeping traditional Goan culture alive through food, art, and music. The restaurant itself is an extension of his ancestral home, flowing naturally from living space to dining area. An eclectic array of hand-picked, lovingly rescued garrafaos, jars, bottles, musical instruments, and traditional furniture speaks volumes for his determination to prevent the “old ways” from dying out. Mario Miranda and his son have painted a mural on one wall in tribute to Ferdy’s dedication, and his love for art is further evidenced by the menus, each painstakingly hand-painted on a plate.
Ferdy truly cared about preserving the Goan culinary tradition. Although Nostalgia’s menu features carefully retrieved and revived traditional recipes rarely found in Goan restaurants today (including ox tongue, feijoada, and bolo sansrival), Ferdy went a step further, establishing St. Sebastian’s Culinary School. His goal: to educate young boys of the surrounding area, provide them with a vocation and training, and help them cash in on Goa’s remunerative tourism trade while ensuring that otherwise-dying recipes were not lost forever.
Ferdy’s wife, Margarida De Noronha Távora e Costa, has decided to keep his dream alive. Although she feels unable to continue to run St. Sebastian’s, Fernando’s Nostalgia will continue to dish out old favourites and encourage Goan musicians and artists to showcase their talents. As of now, the stage seems to wait in silence for Ferdy to stride up and set up his drum kit.
We miss you, Ferdy. Wherever you are, we know people will be laughing and well-fed.
608, No Bairro Ozro, Raia, Salcete, Goa
Phone: 91 0832 2777054 / 91 0832 2777054