Matteo Ugolotti: The Chef From Michelin Starred Kitchens That Went All Organic
One of the world’s best chefs and Dr Smood’s new culinary director says elevated organic fast casual is the new wave of dining.
His father used to make prosciutto and his mother worked for the town of Parma. No one in Matteo Ugolotti’s family had ever had a restaurant. Before he was a chef and owner of one of the most popular restaurants in Parma, Italy, Dr Smood’s new Culinary Director was a land surveyor. Unsurprisingly, measuring and preparing land sites was not for the future talented chef and champion of organic food.
“I asked myself what I really wanted to do with in life, and believe it or not out of the blue, I made up my mind and decided to become a chef. As we say in Italy, I started “peeling potatoes.””
Born and raised in Parma, Ugolotti started working for Parizzi, a Michelin-starred restaurant in his hometown at just 18-years-old. Flash forward three years from commis de cuisine (read: first rung of the ladder to becoming a chef) to chef de partie (line cook) at Parizzi, and Ugolotti found himself as Executive Chef of two Michelin-starred Ambasciata Ristorante in Quistello, Mantova, Italy. But five years in, he decided to open his own restaurant in Parma, Ai Due Platani, a trattoria in the countryside. He always used organic food when possible at his restaurants, especially from local farms right next to his restaurants in Parma.
“The idea was to share the experience and knowledge gained working with and for the Michelin restaurants and make it available to everyone. It was a success from the start, with national awards and the greatly appreciated Bib Gourmand Michelin,” says Ugolotti.
But after working for 11 years at Ai Due Platani, Ugolotti needed a new challenge. This challenge brought him to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he opened up several fast-casual pasta bar concepts, aptly call Parma & Pasta. The low-key restaurants gave diners the experience of making fresh pasta from scratch in just 3 minutes “...to see how the real nonna’s pasta comes alive.”
Ugolotti met René Sindlev, the founder of Dr Smood, and his wife Patrizia at Parma & Pasta in Copenhagen.They were fascinated by how Ugolotti was making fresh, traditional Italian pasta. René and Patrizia kept coming back to Parma & Pasta over and over again until one day they explained Dr Smood to Ugolotti. As soon as Ugolotti heard about the healthiest cafe in the world as told with their enthusiasm and passion for organic food, he was immediately entranced.
“My cuisine is based on the territory and highly connected to it: The key is the quality of the product and knowing where it comes from. Organic food means respect of your body and it’s part of a correct culinary and eating education that should be available to anyone. Organic food is definitely healthier and tastier.”
And that’s why he decided to join Dr Smood.
Ugolotti now has a fresh challenge as the new Culinary Director for Dr Smood: Sharing the philosophy of eating organic and healthy, while maintaining the taste, natural color, and organoleptic quality of the food.
“I had the chance to know the best ingredients from all over the world and I learned how to work with them with simplicity. And that simplicity is key that I want to carry on and put into the Dr Smood, using techniques that don’t alter the natural taste of the food, and keeping the organoleptic quality and guarantee the authenticity of the food,” says Ugolotti.
Ugolotti and the Research & Development team at Dr Smood work every day to find better combinations of food so guests can have a perfect balance between protein and calories. Along with a plant-based chef and a nutritionist, Ugolotti works to research and develop a ‘balanced-food’ philosophy and improve upon an already great menu.
So what can you find Chef Ugolotti eating these days?
“I love the Hot Chocolate and Avocado Toast at Dr Smood because it’s fresh, simple, colorful and light. And of course the Espresso, very tasteful like the Italian coffee!”