Q&A With Our Head Chef
Our restaurant is the newest addition to our historic estate. Chef Matthew Delponte’s menu is small and curated, he uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create flavourful, hearty dishes that pair perfectly with our selection of red wines.
Get to know Matthew in this Q and A where he talks more about his cooking philosophy, favourite ingredients and where he gets his inspiration from.
What made you decide to become a chef?
My father was a chef and restaurateur his entire life, I grew up in the industry and always found myself in the kitchen with my dad. One of my fondest memories is standing on a stool to reach the stove because I was too small.
I have always had a natural ability in the kitchen and knew from a young age that I wanted to be a chef . Hobby, passion, career; I am lucky enough to everything in one.
If you are not in the kitchen, where are we most likely to find you?
Anywhere and everywhere with my family. I love to cook for my family, so you would find me right back in the kitchen again.
What is one ingredient you cannot live without?
There is not one ingredient that I can not live without, however with my love for Mediterranean style cooking I would say a combination of garlic, fresh herbs and all kinds of tomatoes.
What is your signature dish?
I come from Italian heritage and love to cook anything pasta! I make a pretty mean wild mushroom and truffle risotto.
How do you describe your overall cooking philosophy?
In cooking, my classic French training, love for Mediterranean food with a South African flair has all been combined to create my cuisine style.
In the Kitchen, it is of the utmost importance to me that I create a happy and relaxed work environment. This allows for creativity and room to play. I am always open to ideas from my kitchen team and they are always helping me create new dishes.
What is your favourite Alto wine?
Alto has the most amazing portfolio of wines and they are all at the top of my list. If I had to choose, I would go with the icon M.P.H.S as it pairs beautifully with my signature risotto, for more of a lifestyle wine, I would choose the Estate Blend.
What is your advice when pairing food and wine?
Neither the wine nor the food should outweigh one another in terms of flavour, quality and texture, both should complement each other and enhance their qualities.
What is your favourite dish on the menu at Alto?
The Gnocchi, the Pork belly. Can’t forget the Alto Rouge burger too. All of them!
Where do you gain your inspiration from?
My father for sure! He raised myself and my brother in the kitchen. He always had a smile on his face while cooking and the food was always incredible, I was a very lucky kid to grow up with such amazing home cooked meals.
What is your greatest achievement in your career so far?
It has been incredibly rewarding being the head chef at a few of my favourite restaurants thus far. Working at Alto is definitely at the top of my list, from the location to the staff and the amazing opportunity it is all round my greatest achievement so far.