Meet Norberto Piattoni, Chef and co-founder of The Modestos in the Catskills, NY

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Celebrating nature by mastering two of the oldest culinary techniques, wood-fire and natural fermentation and protecting the local community and the environment.

Photo: courtesy Norberto Piattoni

“Food is a celebration, an expression of love and a way to bring happiness to people.” Norberto Piattoni

Born in Federacion, Argentina, Norberto Piattoni grew up learning about agriculture in his grand-father’s farm. Wood-fire cooking being part of the culinary landscape in Argentina, he has always been interested in this traditional technique. After spending six years studying chemical engineering, he realized that his real passion was food, not science. Then, the wind took him to the ‘1884’ restaurant in Mendoza, where he trained with the renowned talented Chef Francis Mallman. Alongside him, he cooked dinners for the Prime Minister of China and the President of Uruguay. Piattoni’s culinary journey in the US started in Kentucky in 2013, followed by San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, where he opened Mettā and San Pedro Inn Bar and Restaurant in Red Hook, New York.

In the course of his career, he became passionate about outdoor wood-fire cooking techniques and natural fermentation, a natural way of ingredient preservation. An advocate for local sourcing and seasonality, he purchases produce at their peak before implementing this ancestral technique to preserve the ingredients through the leaner months. Piattoni is also dedicated to finding sustainable alternative modes of food production and creative ways to cook all parts of the products, thus reducing waste and reusing ingredients whenever possible.

As nature was calling him back for a while, the coronavirus outbreak was the signal to leave New York to go back to basics. Now located in upstate NY, Chef Norberto Piattoni and his friend Chef Danny Newberg have launched The Modestos, an outdoor fire cooking dining concept in the Catskills where all the proceeds are donated to support food security.

Welcome Norberto to Chefs for Impact!

By Norberto Piattoni as told to Chefs for Impact

What brought you to the Catskills?

I was born in Argentina where I grew up surrounded by farms. My education was all about sustainability. My grandfather had a farm where he was raising animals. I’ve always been in that kind of environment and I was always interested in learning more.