For her restaurant’s anniversary, Argentine chef Paola Carosella invited her Uruguayan friend Ignacio Mattos to celebrate their way: running the stove.
Paola Carosella and Ignacio Mattos know well the importance of time. Way before she became a celebrity chef and he became the owner of three establishments, including the award-winning Estela in New York, their paths crossed thanks to Argentine chef Francis Mallmann, in 2001, in the kitchen of A Figueira Rubayat in São Paulo. Since then, their friendship has grown, and like good wine or mature cheese, it only gets better with time.
Today, the duo meet again for a special occasion: Arturito, Carosella’s famous restaurant in São Paulo, has just turned 10. To celebrate, she invited her friend to help her create a special dinner. “The menu is his; I only peeled the beets.”
Past in the kitchen
Even for talented cooks, like the Uruguayan and the Argentine chefs, running a kitchen as intense as Francis Mallmann’s isn’t an easy task.
Arturito: Rua Artur de Azevedo, 542
The team was immense and the operation, meticulous. “The routine at this job is always the same: arriving, standing up all day, looking at details,” Carosella explains. But it was an opportunity to win over their mentor, one of the best chefs in the world. In the following years, Mallmann invited them to repeat their culinary association at Patagonia West, his seasonal restaurant in New York. It was after this second, more intimate experience that their camaraderie relationship began.
Back to the present, Arturito’s 10th anniversary was the perfect opportunity to reunite Mattos and Carosella: it was the Uruguayan chef who helped the Argentine cook right after she opened her restaurant. Their mutual affection can be seen in the kitchen during the festive dinner. The mise en place, when the ingredients are organized and arranged, is like a silent dance. The whole wheat bread passing through here and the well-done ribs over there show the harmony of a dance whose steps both chefs know too well.
The first dishes come out of the kitchen. To the elegant menu at Estela, the chefs have added the arracacha potato – typical from Brazil – the celebrated fresh clams and, all of a sudden, the whole continent fits in one tablespoon. Their success is visible at the table.
The ancho beef served with beets and black sesame béarnaise sauce and panna cotta with honey and cherry vinegar reach the perfection that’s always on the horizon. The different flavors are layered as precisely as those of the time that has seasoned this friendship.