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Matteo Metullio

Depsite the wonderful variety of ingredients in the mountains of South Tyrol, Matteo also likes to be inspired from further afield. ‘We're in Italy and it’s crazy to ignore most of its beautiful ingredients just because you're based in a particular region,’ he says. ‘We can take advantage of the country’s amazing and varied terroir and choose many different ingredients like radicchio, cabbage, cauliflower from the north or lemons and oranges from the south.’

Matteo describes his cuisine as Mediterranean, featuring many basic ingredients: tomatoes, oregano, basil, mozzarella and fish. What makes his food unique is the influences he takes from his travels around the world. ‘I was in Paris a few days ago and I ate a fish that was incredible,’ he explains. ‘If French chefs only used local ingredients, maybe I wouldn't have eaten something as nice. I also tried many ingredients from Asia, and learnt how to make proper curry in Thailand, which I reinvented for Italians.’

This use of the world’s ingredients is something Matteo feels strongly about. ‘Why shouldn't I use products coming from abroad just because they are part of other cultures?’ he says. ‘It would be wrong not to use Italian products, of course, but we can be inspired by other countries. We can't think we're better than others; there will always be someone that cooks better than you so it's always good to learn.

‘I am there to give joy to my customers, nothing more,’ he continues. ‘We're not scientists or doctors, even if some of us think so. We're simply artisans and we're also very lucky to do something we love. There are people who wake up everyday to do something they don't enjoy. We shouldn't have the arrogance to think we're geniuses, and we should always try to give people a couple of hours of calm and happiness.’

Three things you should know

Matteo is an avid fan of game, and meats such as rabbit, quail and deer are almost always present on his menu.

The best lunch Matteo ever had was cooked by Giancarlo Perbellini who, along with Norbert Niederkofler, is one of the chef's biggest inspirations.

Matteo is highly involved in the various events that take place in South Tyrol throughout the year, which celebrate the region's gastronomic prowess.