The World is in Amass
- Words by Andrea Petrini
- Photos by Tim Spreadbury
19August,12.32pm.Adispatchfrom Matt Orlando’s email address (it could be the personal or work account, or probably both) with the following message: “Andrea…I don’t know exactly what you had in mind for next Friday, but I must tell you that the time I have available is quite limited. I want to do this article together with you because you were the first person, years ago, to talk about me (do you remember our trip to Mexico?) but I also have to think about the restaurant and my team. I have organised an ap- pointment at the warehouse of one of my seafood suppliers at 6 am. He is very excited about meeting you, there will be loads of fish and cool stuff to rifle through. Afterwards I thought we could go and have a coffee at Sweet Treat in Christianshavn before coming back to the restaurant. There are loads of places where I would like to take you, like Falafel in Christiania and maybe in the old naval workshop next to Amass, but I don’t think I’ll have time before Sunday or Monday or even Tuesday after the MAD Festival.”
You can take Matt Orlando at his word, for he is a mix of the best of Anglo-American pragmatism with Scandinavian precision. I had forgotten what a fascinating character he is, with that toothpaste advertisement smile and crinkled brow, that genuine good will to tackle problems and find solutions. I remember him clearly from a few years ago with his frayed shorts and perfectly ironed t- shirt during our circumnavigation of Mexico. It was 2007, and I was following René Redzepi, beardless and almost unknown at that time, who was an honoured guest in Yucatan ( a noble villa anchored in the scorching beach sand, exotic fruit and spices in endless bottles of fruit juice and cold beers (that were never enough) that took us through to dawn while solving the world’s problems). It was the young American’s final goodbye to the European ranks, a leavetaking of his Danish mentor and a return to his native soil. I kept following him from the Old World, noting the salient stages of this extraordinarily talented youngster with his head firmly on his shoulders. In his early thirties, he was finally ready to use his experiences to make the great leap.