Yes, Chef!

Do you find you’ve lost your way in the kitchen? You want to change some bad habits but don’t know where to start? Well, help is at hand. Chef Aran is using the backdrop of the Algarve and the assistance of his four-year-old son to give you a re-set and get you back to basics.

While so many of us would love to be cooking with fresh ingredients and preparing healthy food from scratch, the reality is often different. Children busy work schedules, time pressures or just lethargy may be holding you back. Under the mantra of ‘cook and live with Chef Aran’ his work gives all kinds of encouraging calls to action like, “learn to cook incredibly delicious, nutrient-rich food from around the world” or “learn alongside your kids and get inspired to cook and try new foods.” I instantly subscribed to his newsletter!

My hour with the chef, aka Aran Goldstein, felt slightly like a food counselling session! I, more than anyone, feel the pain of not cooking what I would choose due to fussy kids, time constraints and lack of knowledge. Aran is certainly not dogmatic or judgemental. He is merely inviting people to engage with him to make small changes that make a big difference in our food prep routines. Better knife skills, knowing how to cut an onion faster or just organising your fridge better could change your cooking habits. “I just want to create sparks in people’s lives.”

Chef Aran Goldstein

To help people like me, Aran is offering one-on-one coaching for individuals and families to help you start your journey towards a healthy relationship with food. The instruction is not just for parents but for anyone who wishes to transform their cooking and develop a repertoire of tasty, nutritious dishes. It is not just cooking but can be seen as health-coaching and support in your journey with food and cooking. “The instructions start with showing your kids how to cut up a pineapple to creating vinaigrettes or mouth-watering sauces. None of it is complicated.”

Aran’s obsession with food and cooking came from his childhood in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the USA. “ I was a chubby, overweight kid that struggled mightily with my body image. We ate a lot of food in our daily rituals, but we also ate a lot of processed pseudo-food. Sugar cereals, soda, Gatorade and fast food were part of our normal. Something clicked around the age of 14. I wanted better – I wanted to be strong and healthy – I knew food was a big part of it.”

He often dreamed of becoming a chef, but when he found a culinary school in Vermont, it felt like he had come home. He first discovered the Algarve after answering an online advert for a summer job in a kitchen at the Casa Grande in Burgau, where he worked for Sally Vincent.

The universe brought Aran and his family to Piemonte, Italy in the autumn of 2020 to cook for a new forest school on a biodynamic winery. “Cooking for those kids gave me such insight as to the potential we have to shift the paradigm of what we see as normal to feed kids. It was a huge spark in my career.”

Chef Aran and his son, Raffa

As much as they loved Italy, more warmth and sun was calling them. As his wife, Karolina’s routes are in Poland, the couple decided they wished to continue their European adventure. After initially spending some time in Lisbon, they decided they wanted Raffa to spend his formative years living and growing in a more laid back atmosphere where he could spend time on the beach every day. In 2021, they settled in Luz.

Aran’s extremely personable manner, relaxed style and charisma definitely make me want to engage with his culinary wisdom! “As a Dad, I see it as a responsibility to create a nourishing environment for my son. It should be a birthright; humans used to receive knowledge from their elders on sourcing, preserving, and preparing food. I want to create a new generation who have that intuition.”

Aran quite literally subscribes to the notion that in order to make an omelette, you should break an egg. His YouTube channel contains various cooking lessons starting with how to boil an egg. I am also engrossed in his lesson on cooking a delicious butternut squash soup with just three ingredients and he even details how to peel and cut the vegetable. In many of the lessons, he is joined by his secret weapon, Raffa, who is adorable and demonstrates that cooking really is child’s play.

“I’m here to transfer my skills and knowledge to you so you can take it and run with it. Though I have my personal approach to specifics, which I share in my work with you, my approach helps you regardless of your specific needs. It’s about building a foundation. I am not trying to teach people the ‘correct’ way, just open up possibilities.”

What I find fascinating is that for him cooking becomes almost like a yoga practice; it’s just as much about finding peace as creating food, “In the end, there is one key ingredient that I insist on adding more and more of, and that is breath. Let’s breathe through this together and let’s have fun while doing it.”

While so many TV shows are now focusing on refining and elevating your culinary skills, it is refreshing to talk to someone trying to strip things back in the kitchen. So I’m going to breathe before making dinner tonight and channel my inner Chef Aran!

Learn how to make one of Chef Aran’s recipes!


In 2003 I studied abroad in Sevilla (Seville), Spain. It was a year filled with magic, and lots of delicious food. Forever the love of all things, eggs, I often ordered what they called Revuelto, essentially a thin frittata you wouldn’t need to finish in the oven.  I often got them with shrimp and garlic. I’ll never forget the first one I had, which was shared among friends. I remember trying to contain myself so as not to hog it all for myself. Then I realized I could just order another round…the beauty of tapas culture. Here I try to capture the simple luxury of that experience. Please play with the ingredients. You could literally use an infinite array of different garnishes. Veggies, seafood, meats,  cheeses.  This is for one person as a main or two as a shared starter.


  • 2-4 pasture raised eggs
  • 5 or 6 wild shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • Smoked paprika (pimentón), to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil, ghee, or coconut oil for cooking

Tools:  I like using cast iron or carbon steel for the pan. You’ll want a nice fitting lid too.  Rubber spatula.


Season the shrimp with salt, a little pimentón, and a drizzle of olive oil and marinate for 20 minutes if you have time.

Heat your 6-8 inch pan to medium heat and add your fat of choice. Add your shrimp and the shaved garlic and cook for a couple minutes. While the shrimp and garlic are cooking, beat your eggs and season with salt.  Flip each shrimp and cook the other side until just cooked through.

Now add the shrimp to your eggs and mix. Wipe your pan clean with paper towel, and add fresh fat. You want medium heat.  Add the egg and shrimp mixture and shake the pan to spread things out.  Cover with lid and cook until the eggs are set. Serve in the pan or turn out onto a plate. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and optional herbs.

Optional Garnishes: Literally almost anything, but I love herbs like chives, scallions, or parsley here.


Hortela Pimenta

Owner Joana is just the best. I can’t say enough about this store. It’s really about the love she puts into only sourcing nourishing food and going above and beyond for her customers. I imagine this is how the local store used to be, where you got to know the owner and build friendship and trust. I love how every visit too there is something new. A new product often celebrating a local artisan. Just love this place. I go a few times a week! The butcher a few doors down from her is also super nice and helpful and is very skilled and knowledgeable.ã-Pimenta

Vivo Mercado

We go every Wednesday night to this Lagos market for reliable organic produce, naturally fermented organic bread, fermented things, honey, amazing coffee from Clifftop Coffee Roastery and more. It has become more of a ritual then just a shopping run, where we have got to know the vendors we now call friends.

Ecos do Vale

100% Grass-Fed Meat. Regenerative Practices. The farm is up north but you can group with others to get a hold of a share when available. Amazing practices.

Mercado Municipal de Lagos

For fresh fish. Look for Sonia in the back corner by the elevator. She’s amazing and is so knowledgeable. I learn something new everytime I go. She is also super transparent and will let you know what is truly wild vs farmed and how things were fished.

Mercado Municipal de Vila do Bispo

Also reliable for fresh fish, but I love visiting Ophelia’s stall for organic produce. She and her husband have their own farm and pour their hearts into growing amazing fruit and veggies. She is also such a joy to visit. The other organic stall is also great!

Coffee and Waves

Great place for artisan coffee and natural wines.

Picnic Sagres

Cool spot to grab things for the beach. Also, a great selection of natural wines, craft beers and ciders.

Koyo Specialty Coffee Roaster

I really love this place. The owner is such a nice guy that puts a lot of love into his craft! Great organic coffee.

Youtube: Cook and Live w/Chef Aran Goldstein

Instagram: @chefarangoldstein



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