Matteo Zonarelli: “My signature dish represent me in its essentiality and apparently simplicity”

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Matteo Zonarelli was named the best young chef in North East Asia region during the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 regional heat and he will now put his passion for cooking to the test at the Grand Finale in Milan under the guidance of mentor chef Jacques Reymond.

We spoke to him about his preparations on how he turned a passion into a profession.

My dish is unique because…
My dish is unique because represent me in its essentiality and apparently simplicity.

What are the main influences in your signature dish?
The main influence is my love for this three ingredients: sweetbread, celeriac and hazelnuts.

How are you collaborating with your S.Pellegrino Young Chef mentor in order to perfect your dish for the final?
We are trying to perfect some small details for make the dish perfectly balance.

What led you to choosing a career in the kitchen?
I always loved to stay in the kitchen with my mother and my grandmother since I was very young so I guess my family led me to make this choice.

Who has been a mentor to you throughout your career?
I had a lots of mentor and master during my career but the most important one for me is Giacinto Rossetti. When I talk with him I have always something to learn, for me he is like a kitchen’s bible.

It’s a very big honour and pleasure know him.

What are your professional ambitions?
My professional ambition of course is became a chef.

What’s the best dish you ever tasted? Where did you eat it and who cooked it?
The best dish I ever tasted is 'risotto with saffron and licorice' made by Massimiliano Alajmo, chef of the restaurant Le Calandre in Padova.

What is the most exciting/challenging element of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition for you?
The most exciting element for sure is compete with other chefs from all around the world.

What will you do if you win the competition?
I should be very happy and satisfied but I know the way for make my dream true it’s still long and hard but surely win would be a great confidence booster.