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Meet Our Head Chef: Matias Cilloniz
Get to know RAFI North Sydney Executive Head Chef Matias Cilloniz.
Hailing from Peru, Matias brings a wealth of knowledge, impressive experience, and a passion for fresh produce to the RAFI kitchen.
Matias shares his passion for sustainability, what inspires him to be a Head Chef, and his favourite things about working at RAFI North Sydney. Keep reading to discover all this and more, as we get to know Matias a little better.
Tell us about yourself and your career in hospitality:
I grew up in the countryside on the central coast of Peru, harvesting the produce my family grew. This gave me a deep sense of the seasons and an understanding of the hard work and romance growers put into their produce.
I’ve worked in hotels, catering companies, casual joints, and fine dining restaurants, and I’ve decided I’m all for produce & people. I follow my gut on what makes sense in building a healthy and happy work environment for my staff. My coooking is driven by the produce, creating simple dishes complex in flavour, that showcase the place and time we are in.
Who or what inspires you to work as a Head Chef?
It’s a bit of a mixed cliché. I grew up in a family that worked the land and was constantly surrounded by nature and produce. I learned a lot of elegance from my Italian Grandmother, her cooking was amazing and she was a great host. My mother is also an amazing cook, and she follows no recipes, using more of her instincts.
I learned about produce, hospitality, and using my instincts from them. My passion, time, drive, luck & ambition led me to where I am now.
What is your favourite part about working at RAFI?
The support I am getting to be me, to build and show what makes sense to me, and to drive change within our team and customers. There is a lot of power and responsibility in feeding and leading a team of people.
One word to describe your cooking style:
Where does your passion for sustainability and seasonal produce come from?
My passion comes from growing up surrounded by nature and acknowledging the time we live in. We have to be and do things more responsibly.
What is your favourite RAFI dish?
I’m a glutton so I have no favourites or dislikes but I’d say a combination of our grilled King George Whiting, our roasted pumpkin with black garlic butterscotch, and our tomatoes with tonnato, sumac & pine nuts would be my kind of a perfect meal.
What are you excited to bring to RAFI in 2023?
I’m building a strong, close team, and a meaningful set of values for us to follow. Local, seasonal & responsibly sourced produce is at the forefront, as well as working on our craft while acknowledging everyone’s voice.
I’m really excited to see how much stronger our team will be in a few months’ time and for the upcoming dinners, events, and Chef’s table experiences we will offer around our set of values.
Catch Matias manning the pass on a busy dinner service or as your host for a private event in our Chef’s Kitchen.
Discover more and make a booking at the links below.