Orazio D’Elia

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - News - Mat­teo, 29 Bay St, Dou­ble Bay, NSW, (02) 9327 8015, mat­teosyd­ney.com BY SA­MAN­THA TEAGUE

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.

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