Why did you become a chef?
Because I was shit at maths – true story. When I was in middle school, my friend suggested we go to chef school (because there would be no maths and we could travel the world) and I was like, yeah, done, sold. And so here I am.
You’ve just opened Matteo in Double Bay. Tell us about it.
It’s a big Italian restaurant that is still comfortable and cosy. The space used to house the restaurant Limoncello, where I worked about seven years ago, but we stripped the whole place and changed basically everything except the tiles. Matteo is also the name of my five-month-old son – it’s been a busy few months.
Standout dishes on the menu?
Our linguine with scampi, and the buffalo mozzarella with lemon leaves, a dish from the Amalfi Coast. I also love the family-style lasagne; it’s an Italian interpretation of a Sunday roast and is made to feed about four people. I think that when you’re sitting at the table with your family, talking and eating, it’s harmonious and beautiful.
What’s the key to a perfect pizza?
First of all, you need a great pizzaiolo. You also need a good oven (we imported ours from Naples) and the right dough, yeast and proving. We prove our dough twice to make it really light. Today pizze have so many different toppings, but I think a great Margherita made with buffalo mozzarella is still queen.
Now that Matteo is up and running, what’s next on the cards?
We’ve put a deposit on a site in the city that’s going to be home to our next restaurant, Matteo Downtown. It’s still a bit further down the track, though – we’re planning to open some time in the middle of 2018.
Matteo chef Orazio D’Elia. Left: his linguine with scampi.