Chef Mike Pagliarini of Via Matta - Biography
Mike Pagliarini’s connection to food and cooking grows deep: he hails from an Umbrian family of lentil farmers, and he considers his mother his first mentor in the kitchen.
Extensive travels through out Western Europe instilled in Pagliarini a deep appreciation for ingredients, wine, and the ceremony of dining. And it was his training at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY that laid the foundation for his upcoming culinary adventures.
After an internship at Hamersley’s Bistro in Boston’s South End, he got his first full-time kitchen job at Michael Schlow’s Radius in Boston. Two years of hard work and hard knocks at Radius prepared Pagliarini for his next gig: in the kitchen of Trio in Chicago, under the leadership of their new chef Grant Achatz. Pagliarini spent the next two years in Achatz’s highly disciplined and meticulously organized kitchen.
In the summer of 2003, Pagliarini traveled to London and Paris, and staged with Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck. Although he and his fiancée were tempted to settle in Umbria for a life of lentil farming, they decided to head back to the East Coast and Pagliarini returned to Radius as Schlow’s sous chef.
In 2007, Pagliarini was offered the chef de cuisine position at Via Matta. Never one to turn down a new challenge—not to mention an opportunity to use Umbrian lentils in an Italian context—he took the helm at Via Matta in the fall of that year. Though quite content in his current position, Pagliarini aspires to open his own small, neighborhood restaurant with his wife.