Credits Brambilla - Serrani
Via Giuseppe Meda, 2
Among all the chefs under 40 working in Milan, Matias is one of the much-discussed. It’s because he managed to transform dishes and furnishings of a typical and rustic osteria on the Navigli neighborhood, into a tasty meeting of curious gourmets. It’s a goal that not even the Pont de Ferr’s owner (and sommelière), the persuasive Maida Mercuri, would have ever imagined: but it’s she in the end who has wanted and welcomed him. Born in Urugay, Matias has been working in a kitchen since he was 14 years old: his first goal was to work into the first 5-stars hotel of his homeland.
Due to his young age, he didn’t succeed, but his ambitions revealed to be very strong indeed. After spending 4 years in an Italian restaurant based in Montevideo, he sailed directly on the way to Milan: he wanted to help former Pont de Ferr’s head chef, a compatriot, to prepare pasta and fagioli (beans), braised donkeys, once the best dishes of the restaurant. Thanks to his irrepressible creativity, Matias didn’t take much time to take the reins of the kitchen, setting a real revolution in terms of recipes, preparations and presentations. Inspired by an inexhaustible curiosity about new techniques coming from Spain (he run a decisive stage at El Celler de can Roca in Girona), Matias was ready to launch his challenge to Milan: to offer the most creative dishes in town, inside what once was (and still is) a simple osteria on the Navigli area.
All this, with relying on a minimal but fully equipped kitchen, a good selection of raw materials and great inspirations: the same one that leads him to write every day on the menu: «last night the chef dreamed of», recipes coming out of night visions. Now that he’s no longer an emerging chef and restaurant guides are beginning to notice him, Matias remains humble and introverted as ever. The evidence is when we listen to him say: «I wish I would open a cooking school in my country. But I'd also like another restaurant. This time, however, in front of the sea». Before that, on winter 2014, he interrupted the relatiinship with Maida Mercuri to open Contraste, his brand new big adventure.
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The full team at Racines, Passage de Panoramas 8, Paris. Opened in January 2018 by Simone Tondo (top left), Stephanie Crockford (beside him), Dulal Dey (second from the top right) and Stefania Melis (bottom right), it now has 15 employees. (photos from Mickaël Bandassak)