Ary Fontoura is a Brazilian superstar, musician, singer, author, director and television- presenter. He was born in Paraná, Brazil. He is known for his beautiful features and dark sagging eyebrows that give the impression of deep wrinkles. Many believe that he is the most handsome Brazilian celebrity. His popularity reached its peak during the eighties when he developed a string of well-known albums, and his image remains intact to this day.
Today, Ary Fontoura lives a simple life in Soutien, Brazil, where he works as a painter and writes books about nature and people. As he is known for his dark and striking eyes, some believe that he has inherited the ‘favoured facial expression’ of the Brazilians. However, he has denied this and instead credits his success to following his heart and talent. He believes strongly that art should not be affected by race or colour.
In his book “Aoi Para Natal”, which translates into “Famous Or Not So Famous” (thus the title), Aary Fontoura gives an interesting biography of dos Isidro, a Peruvian indigenous family who are famous throughout the Amazon Rainforest. The family travels across the jungle, searching for plants and animals which they can use for food and medicine. Among the plants that they find are ayurvedic herbs that are used to treat patients with some of the world’s most common diseases. The story of dos Isidro and his encounter with the legendary Ayurveda doctors, Udayin and Paraclete, is told beautifully here.
Apart from travelling through the Amazon rainforest, Ary Fontoura enjoys spending time in Rio, where he is active in theatre and advertising. He also enjoys boating and sailing and is passionate about music, books, movies and television. He describes himself as a lover of travel and culture, and the journey of his life, which began when he was little, travelling on horseback along the coastal beaches of Brazil.
From a very early age, Ary Fontoura was already studying the ancient Mayan language, which he learned in school in Chile, where the Spanish had been forced out many years before. This experience gave him a passion for learning a different language and for reading books in a totally different language. During the last decade of his life, he travelled extensively throughout Central America, travelling to the ancient Aztec pyramids, learning fluent Spanish and passing the time between Latin American vacations. Throughout this period, he maintained several direct relationships with his readers, most of whom were Spanish-speaking people who were passing through Latin America and who were amazed at how deeply interested he was in their culture and their languages.
One of the favourite stories is entitled The Ballad of Uma, a beautifully written account of a young woman’s tragic love affair with an indigenous from the Afro-Argentine region. This beautiful book has sold more than a million copies worldwide, although only in English. In this story, the young woman, called “Sophie” (or Sophie), marries an archeno, or wool trader, named Osage. Shortly thereafter, she marries another man, named David, who happens to be from the French province of Alsace, and lives with them.
Another favorite of Ary Fontoura’s, called Le Cordon Bleu, is about the training of chef de cuisine at the prestigious Cordon Bleu in Paris, where he meets and works with one of the greatest chefs of the century…rousing. In this story, we learn that this great chef is so devoted to his job that he even goes above and beyond in terms of preparation of food for the meals of the entire Cordon Bleu staff – in spite of the fact that such food preparations usually take the place of the actual dining experience. And so it goes with other tales of food-related escapades that follow. While some of these may border on being too far over the edge for the tastes and preferences of the general public, many of them are very light-hearted affairs that are still entertaining.
Besides these two series, many other stories were filmed in France and were made available on television. The most notable among these are Le chef, which were about Fontoura’s career as a chef before he became a TV presenter; and Nesbo, which focused on the life and times of the famous writer Nesbo. Interestingly enough, both of these TV programmes were not filmed in France – but they were filmed in the United Kingdom. However, the plotlines in these programs do allude to the French culture and lifestyles and that of the country where Fontoura is based. For example, in Le chef, a scene features Fontoura and his friend, a waiter, preparing a dish named “Foiture de la Meuse,” (The furniture of the head). Another episode, Le chef, focused on a lesson in etiquette taught by the head chef of a restaurant where the programme was filmed.