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From Sicily to Sydney: flavours and memories of chef Paolo Gatto

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From Sicily to Sydney: flavours and memories of chef Paolo Gatto

The flavour of a distant homeland tastes of nostalgia but it also smells of the awareness that it has never been completely left behind. Every day, this taste relives in the kitchen of SUD,  a southern Italian street food-inspired restaurant, and in that of PaRi’s, one of the best pastry bars in Sydney. The owner and executive chef of both is the 40-year-old Paolo Gatto, native of Taormina, in Sicily. Encouraged by his Italian-Australian father, Paolo decided to move to Australia, that far-away land about which he had long heard; the land where dreams and desires were easy and affordable for all. After having visited different cities, he finally realized that his home would have been Sydney.

In Italy he fell in love with Rita whom he later married. “I was 24 when Rita had our first child Joseph – tells us the chef – I didn’t know what would have happened, but I knew it was all I wanted”. As young parents full of dreams, they decided to move to Sydney: a very hard choice which, however, proved to be an absolute success. “Family union has been the engine and the fuel of what is now our reality, and I hope that my children, Joseph and Annalia, will be able to realize their dreams, too”.

Dalla Sicilia a Sidney, sapori e nostalgie nell’intervista allo chef Paolo Gatto | Colours of Sicily

The first steps in the kitchen

In that house in southern Italy, Paolo Gatto took his first steps towards culinary art, by attending a cooking school. “Initially, I didn’t want to become a chef. I liked the catering sector, and I thought I had become a restaurant manager. Then, I found the right path. In Sicily I had great masters, like Massimo Mantarro, with whom I worked at the San Domenico restaurant in Taormina”. His is a typical Italian cuisine deeply rooted in tradition. In 2011 his Gatto Matto became one of the best Italian restaurant in Sydney, being very appreciated by most Australians.

Dalla Sicilia a Sidney, sapori e nostalgie nell’intervista allo chef Paolo Gatto | Colours of Sicily
Chef Paolo Gatto

His venues

In 2015 Paolo became the executive chef and owner of SUD, by proposing a typical traditional Italian cuisine. In 2017 his ambition led him to give birth to PaRi (acronym of “Paolo” and “Rita”) a Sicilian-style pastry bar, a place that immediately became famous in the Inner West of Sydney. Here you can taste the famous Sicilian granita and brioche and many other mouth-watering sweets.

“High-class Italian cuisine has been known and appreciated for some time now in Australia, and the true Made in Italy can be found in many top-quality restaurants. The most requested products are undoubtedly Pasta and Pizza, especially the pizza napoletana”- says the chef.

Dalla Sicilia a Sidney, sapori e nostalgie nell’intervista allo chef Paolo Gatto | Colours of Sicily

The ‘sweet’ taste of home

Christmas is coming and chef Gatto will certainly re-propose his panettone, a dessert that despite its Milanese origins, is very dear to him. The flavour of the soft dough stuffed with dried raisins has a sort of sentimental influence for anyone who knows Italy, a place where tradition, family and friends are priceless. As chef Gatto says: “Spending Christmas season in a land like Sicily perfectly describes the respect for recipes handed down for generations, for untouchable tastes, for dishes that have marked the history of a nation that is famous like no other for its art, but above all for its cuisine”.

Dalla Sicilia a Sidney, sapori e nostalgie nell’intervista allo chef Paolo Gatto | Colours of Sicily
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Native of Vittoria, as her favourite wine, the noble DOCG Cerasuolo. Following her classical high school diploma, she received a bachelor's degree with honours in Food Science and Technology with a thesis on Hyblean ricotta cheese (cheese is her second passion, after wine!). She collaborates with several online newspapers and food&wine magazines. Cheerful and friendly, considered by many as "volcanic", she likes to get out among the people, especially those who share her same passions: the love for the land and the good things.

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