The place to be for those wonderful French classics cooked up by this well-travelled chef.
PARTNER CONTENT: From Sardinia to the world, Abu Dhabians will be glad that Matteo Guerra, Executive Sous Chef in charge of Fouquet’s Abu Dhabi, has brought his culinary expertise to the capital. Team Yalla finds out more in our regular feature, Meet the Chef!
From humble beginnings to the rest of the world, Sardinian Chef Matteo Guerra’s culinary trajectory is admirable. But when you learn that almost from the get-go, he has been rubbing shoulders with culinary world A listers, it is nothing less than impressive.
“I started as dishwasher in Sardinia and went into hotel management college,” says Matteo.
Like many great chefs, his passion for food started at a young age; a beginning that was sparked by both parents. Matteo reminisces about a time when his father was unemployed.
“I was 10 years old and my father would often speak about the past, a time when he worked in a big kitchen in Germany, and about the chefs he met then,” says Matteo.
Simultaneously, Matteo’s mother urged him to gain a craft so when he was of working age he would never be without work.
“I connected the two and chose a job in hospitality and enrolled at a hotel management college,” he says.
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Exposed to kitchen and restaurant processes in his native Sardinia, Matteo soon had his eyes set on bigger challenges and headed to Paris when he was just 19 years old. A year later, Germany beckoned and Matteo continued to hone his skills in creating Mediterranean dishes and learning the inner workings of busy kitchens. It was not long before the Fouquet’s Abu Dhabi chef was in the company of the culinary elite.
“I worked with Gordon Ramsay in Tuscany, Italy. Despite his ‘bad boy’ reputation, Gordon is a genuinely kind man from whom I learned many skills.”
Matteo has now been in the UAE for almost 10 years, initially starting at the Roberto Cavalli restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel in Dubai, before relocating to Vancouver, Canada.
“I was also a kind of private chef for him so I know Roberto very well. I also knew his dog well, as I used to cook meals for it.”
As well as working with Gordon Ramsay, which is where Matteo says he learned discipline, he also worked for another UK chef, Marco Pierre White.
“I was leading the kitchen then but needed more leadership experience.
”Continuing his journey of curiosity and knowledge around the world, Chef Matteo landed in Denmark in 2019, at Noma, a three-Michelin star restaurant co-owned by René Redzepi that has won the ‘World’s Best Restaurant’ many times.
“When I went to Noma, I was already head chef but I started as an apprentice. What I took from this restaurant was how inspiring and charismatic the chef was; how he brought 45 chefs together in a modern way without shouting, and instead inspired and offered training. It was a different type of management.”
Today, Matteo brings a similar style of management to Fouquet’s Abu Dhabi, a venue that has an elite local and expat following.
“I would say I am a guy who manages his ego and is a supporter of the guys in the kitchen, learning about their goals and helping them to achieve them. So I don’t care about my personal goals as nobody else cares for them; If my team succeeds, it reflect on me and ultimately satisfy the diners of Fouquet’s Abu Dhabi.”
For more information, visit Fouqet’s Abu Dhabi
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