In Conversation With: Chef Matteo Arvonio - Know Your City - Burrp
 
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In Conversation With: Chef Matteo Arvonio

Junisha Dama October 13, 2015

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Mezzo Mezzo’s new chef, Chef Matteo Arvonio comes from Italy and serves the country on a platter.
Chef Matteo Arvonio - Speciality Chef at Mezzo Mezzo, JW Marriott

Chef Matteo Arvonio - Speciality Chef at Mezzo Mezzo, JW Marriott

It’s hard not to fall in love with Italian food – the simple cooking techniques, abundant use of fresh ingredients and delicate flavours. If you haven’t yet tried authentic Italian food, we aren’t surprised, but you’re a lot closer to trying it.
Italy Comes To India
Look closely and you’ll find similarities in Indian and Italian food. Every region has its own cuisine depending largely on seasonal vegetables, meat, seafood, etc. So, it’s even more heart-warming to know that Chef Matteo Arvonio –new Speciality Chef at Mezzo Mezzo in J W Marriott, Juhu –has worked and lived in different regions of Italy.
Merluzzo Nero al Cartoccio Con Pappa al Pomodoro

Merluzzo Nero al Cartoccio Con Pappa al Pomodoro

The menu boasts of something from every region and showcases his style: refined regional cuisine. The food is inspired from traditional grandma’s recipes modified to suit a restaurant, while the technique of cooking comes from the various countries Chef Matteo has worked in. Flavours of Tuscany, Piedmont, Veneto, Sardinia and Sicily are dominant – so you’re guaranteed a range of dishes from all across the country.
Also Read: In Coversation With: Nidhi Behl
There’s no compromise with the recipe, even if the customer doesn’t like it. “I don’t change my recipe as per customers. If the recipe is not going to be understood, I won’t use it. Instead, I’ll find another that does and work with it”, says Chef Matteo. Although this requires more work, the basic principle followed is to develop a dish that’s tasty and traditional.
Our mostly-vegetarian country, throws challenges to international cuisines that bar a more authentic experience. “There aren’t many 100 per cent vegetarian Italian dishes. So the touch of anchovies or eggs is limited,” he says. However, getting the authentic flavour is difficult because of the change in ingredients too. “I try to taste the best of ingredients from the market and use only those and change recipes accordingly, still sticking to the traditional”.
Riso Carnaroli alla Zucca, Funghi Selvatici e Semi di Zucca tostati

Riso Carnaroli alla Zucca, Funghi Selvatici e Semi di Zucca tostati

Italian Boom
While earlier, you’d see a host of French restaurants in a 5 star hotel, the responsibility of feeding an international cuisine to Indians, has fallen on Italians. The reason: “French cuisine is more complicated to understand. When people can’t understand the dish, they don’t like to eat it. Italian food will always have some comfort food that suits everyone. That’s the key reason for the success of Italian cuisine”, says Chef Matteo.
The boom of Italian restaurants has only just arrived, but is India ready to go beyond pizzas and pastas? Chef Matteo thinks it’s a start. “Pizzas and pastas will always be popular. But I can see that more restaurants now have menus that go beyond. Nowadays, customers ask me to suggest a dish, so it’s all changing,” he says. Indians travelling to Italy for a holiday has also helped speed up the boom.
Also Read: In Conversation With: Chef Manish Mehrotra
Want to know what more can you expect on Mezzo Mezzo’s menu? Truffles. Coming from the region of truffles – Piedmont, Chef Matteo wouldn’t mind experimenting when they are in season. You can also expect more regions to feature on the menu, soon.
Chef Matteo’s Favourite Dishes From The Menu
Orecchiette ai Gamberi Rossi, Brocoletti, Ricotta Salata

Orecchiette ai Gamberi Rossi, Brocoletti, Ricotta Salata

I Cicchetti -  Gamberi Rossi, Capesante e Baccalà  
Inspired by Sicily - almond crusted red sweet shrimps, asparagus, ricotta macco
Inspired by Piedmont - crispy sea scallop, anchovy, garlic bagna cauda
Inspired by Venice - creamy salt cod in polenta cannolo
Orecchiette ai Gamberi Rossi, Brocoletti, Ricotta Salata
Sweet red prawn, artisanal orecchiette, broccoli rabe, oven dried tomato, salted ricotta - inspired by Puglia
Merluzzo Nero al Cartoccio Con Pappa al Pomodoro
Black cod al cartoccio, tuscan stewed tomato caviar, Swiss chard
Branzino del Pacifico con cous cous alla Trapanese
Pan seared chilean seabass, cous cous from trapani, mussels guazzett  - western coast of Sicily
Varianti del Maialino da Latte
Slow-cooked dutch suckling pig two ways, chocolate and juniper berries sauce du   - memories of Rome and Modica

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