Matias Cilloniz is the Executive Head Chef at RAFI, originally from Peru. He studied Gastronomy and Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Bleu and has worked at one of ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’–Central Restaurant, alongside Chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León. He has also undertaken internships at 2 Michelin star restaurants Paco Roncero’s in Madrid and 42 Grams in Chicago.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Matias and get an insight into his inspirations, cooking style and the cookbook he thinks everyone should own.

How would you describe your style of food?
Produce driven, simple yet interesting combinations.

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
Since I was around 12 years old, helping my mother cater for her friends. The creative
process of deciding what to cook with what was good at the time was an absolute pleasure.

What inspired you to move to Sydney and help launch RAFI?
I was searching for a risk. Another step in my career. A whole different bunch of ingredients,
flavours, people and traditions to incorporate into my expertise.

What are 3 dishes on the menu everyone must try?
The raw tuna with chilli crunch, the southern squid with black sausage and the crispy
eggplant with honey, herbs & spices.

What are your goals at RAFI – where do you want to take it?
I’m looking to expand the variety of produce and Aussie producers. Also a couple of
surprises like the Chef’s Kitchen experience that we are launching soon.

Other than RAFI, what's your favourite restaurant in Sydney?
Absolutely loved Saint Peter from Chef Joshua Niland

What's your favourite thing to EAT?
A lot of veggies, Dim Sum, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese. EVERYTHING.

DRINK of choice?
Depends on the mood. Can be a glass of Single malt whisky, a cold skin contact wine or a
zipping shot of mezcal.

What do you do for PLAY when you're not working?
Spending time with my husband: Swimming, cooking, sharing a bottle of something nice,
playing music on our turntable, visit an art gallery or a garden, battle on a game of chess.

What is a cookbook you think everyone should have?
The Food Lab. Better Home Cooking Through Science. Awesome book for home chefs. It
helps understanding in depth the science and why’s of a lot of things behind cooking. From
blanching to searing to preserving.

Take a look at RAFI’s menu here.

Take a look at the video from our Land to Sea at RAFI here.

If you want to join in on the fun, you can buy tickets to our upcoming Secret Foodies events here.