Matteo Zamboni – Executive Chef at Jonah’s Restaurant and Boutique Hotel in Sydney, Australia
Matteo Zamboni is Executive Chef the award-winning Restaurant, which offers excellent contemporary Australian cuisine – the Jonah’s Restaurant in Sydney, Australia. His culinary roots are Italian and Chef Matteo has worked and learned among the best.
Today Italian born Matteo Zamboni gives us some insights into his impressive career.
Matteo Zamboni – Chef’s Portrait
Matteo, you are an experienced Executive Chef and work today at the Jonah’s Restaurant and Boutique Hotel in Sydney, Australia. Where did your career as a Chef start?
During my time at the hotel school in Italy I worked during the summer season in a small family run restaurant in Gardone Riviera, near my hometown of Brescia in the north of Italy. I remember it to this day and it’s one of the best places I’ve worked. It was like being a part of the family and I’m still a friend with the owners.
Which cooking school did you visit first?
I went to the “Caterina de Medici” Scuola Alberghiera in Gardone Riviera, north of Italy.
At the beginning of your career as a Chef you worked for 2 years as Chef de Partie at the Hotel La Pergola Sella Cavalieri Hilton, with 3 Michelin starred Chef Heinz Beck. How did this time shape you as a cook?
During my time at La Pergola, I learned what it means to work for perfection. Heinz Beck is a perfectionist and everything had to be done to his very high standards. In many cases, Heinz asked me to repeat some preparations that were in my opinion good, but he knew something was wrong. Heinz could taste it if I had done something different in each recipe by tasting only a small amount of the preparation. Mostly he was right, so I this job definitely taught me that every step in each recipe is very important.
You have stayed in the Michelin Star kitchen and have worked as Chef de Partie with 2 Michelin starred Chef Carlo Cracco in his Ristorante Cracco. What did you learn culinary at this time?
When I joined Cracco Ristorante I had the experience of the two years in the La Pergola and therefore knew what it meant to work in a world-class restaurant. During my time at Cracco, I learned more about how to create new dishes and bring different flavors together. Cracco and his team were very creative, so it was definitely a mind opening experience in terms of creativity.
How would you describe your own culinary line after these many years of experience as a Chef in various restaurants in Australia today?
I love to work with the best possible local products, from the most unusual and expensive to the most common and affordable. When I cook with great products, my work is much easier and the end result is always better.
Today you are Executive Chef at the Jonah’s Restaurant and Boutique Hotel in Sydney. What is the culinary setup?
Here at Jonah’s we have a menu that is heavily influenced by my Italian background. In Australia we are fortunate to use some very unusual foods that are part of the aboriginal culture that lived (and still lives) in the country before the arrival of the European in the 18th century. In some dishes, we mix the native Australian ingredients with the recipes from Italy.
That sounds interesting! Can you share some of your current creations with us?
One of my favourite dishes is actually a dessert. It is called burnt butter and sage and it is a dessert inspired by the classic burnt butter and sage condiment normally used for simple pasta dishes. We use those flavours to create a dessert also using a native Australian plum which is very tart and very delicious. Another dish that I am very proud of is the crystal crab with ricotta and beach greens. We use this incredibly sweet crystal crab from western Australia, steamed with some ricotta and a large selection of costal plants and seaweeds that we pick from the beach near the restaurant.
What are some of the lesser-known spices and in what creations?
Native Tasmanian pepper is the one I like the most. It is a pepper with a lightly purple colour and a sweeter flavour. We use it to cure tuna loin similar to a bresaola.
What are some of the lesser-known ingredients you use and in what creations?
We use a wide range of native ingredients such as finger lime, desert lime, lemon myrtle, Davidson plum, warrigal green and many others.
What are some of your unique cooking techniques?
We generally use simple cooking techniques and try to manipulate the ingredients as little as we can. One particular simple technique which I love is the one we use to make sorrel ricotta, using sorrel juice as coagulant agent instead of the classic lemon juice or vinegar.
Since you know Sydney well – what are the current trends in the local food/chef scene?
People are moving away from the classic fine dining restaurants for a more casual dining still done well. In Sydney we have a wide range of restaurant and lots of them are doing a great job in terms of quality, whether they are true fine dinners or very simple and casual family restaurants.
Any place in the world you would like to work as a Chef one day? (international job offers on Cook Concern)
Tokyo could be a great destination. There is a great food culture, which I would like to get to know better.
Thank you very much for your time, Chef Matteo!
Chef Matteo has already experienced an exciting culinary journey.
Where do you want to work as a Chef one day? What are your future goals?
Tell us with a free profile on Cook Concern!