Musa das Panelas



Luiza Souza of Bar da Gema


Amidst all the political drama in Brazil over the last few months you could be forgiven for forgetting that pans can be used for cooking (as well as for voicing your dissatisfaction with elected politicians, obvs). Happily, one of Rio’s most engaging and positive culinary personalities has stepped up to remind us all that a pan’s place is in the kitchen.

I first became aware of Luiza Souza back when I stumbled upon Bar da Gema during the Comida di Buteco bar food competition a few years ago. Along with culinary partner in crime, Leandro, Luiza runs the kitchen of this brilliant bar in Tijuca, knocking up delicious (and indulgent) treats like Polentinha (crispy cubes of deep-fried polenta topped with rich, velvety oxtail), Frango com quiabo (chicken with okra) and award winning coxinhas.

Well a few weeks ago Luiza launched a fantastic new venture which simultaneously showcases her cooking and her personality which is as big as, well, Luiza herself!



Our Musa das Panelas (‘Muse of the pots and pans’?) has come up with a brilliant idea. Every Monday she shares a classic Brazilian boteco recipe on her YouTube Channel, then on the following Wednesday she serves that same dish in the bar! Neat idea right? If you want to try the recipe then fine, otherwise just head along to Bar da Gema on Wednesday and have it the easy way. Or it try it yourself first, then compare your results with the official version. Non-Portuguese speakers should still find it easy enough to follow the recipes though might need to do a little Google Translating with the recipe list.

Maybe this is a well-worn path, but I’ve never heard of this scheme before – seems like a really great way of sharing recipes and generating interest.

The video clips are 6-8 minutes long and hilarious! On the first week she joked that she’s really doing this whole thing just to find a boyfriend, another time she says that someone in the street told her should couldn’t be a muse because she was gordinha (plump) – her response is spot-on: being overweight is bad for your health but it doesn’t stop you being a muse! I’m probably going to ruin the translation, but I particularly enjoyed this part of her ripose: Sou musa! Sou negra! Bonita. Vou ficar aqui, hein? (“I’m a muse. I’m black. Beautiful. I ain’t going anywhere, OK?”). The clips are also liberally sprinkled with swearing and funny little out-takes shown in black and white.

And man! The theme tune (from samba legend Moacyr Luz and Nego Alvaro) is catchy as hell! I now spend Mondays humming this tune and dreaming of delicious bar food – enjoy!


Musa das Panelas has a Facebook page and YouTube channel. You can find Bar da Gema on Rua Barão de Mesquita, 615 – Tijuca (map). Go on Wednesday evenings for the Musa das Panelas dish. Tuesday is coxinha night! 

2 replies
  1. The Gritty Poet
    The Gritty Poet says:

    I think the show is off to a promising start; but she should tone it down a bit (just a tad: it would still be over the top yet nicer). I like the balance of the moela episode, – although it is also the one with least amount of views so perhaps I’m in the minority. Man that moela looks good.

    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      I guess in the age of 20 second attention spans, the received wisdom is that you have to be a bit over-the-top to keep people watching. But also I think she is just a bit like that! Yeah, those moelas look amazing don’t they – that was actually the first recipe that inspired me enough to buy the ingredients to have a go myself. Results were delicious!


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