Entering the bustling farmer’s market, a vibrant tapestry of fresh produce and seasonal hues stretches out before us. Eyes wide and smiles brimming, we indulge in this sensory moment. Even more than us, turning to our friend, Mati’s face glows with tranquility and a renewed sense of energy.
Meet Mati Pichci, the culinary storyteller and food curator of Copenhagen’s Psyche Café. Food for Mati is more than just fuel, it’s a language of love, an expression of intuition, and bridge for creating lifelong friendships. From his early days in advertising to his transformative internships at the prestigious Noma and Kabi, Mati’s journey is a testament to following one’s passions. You can find him enveloped in food at all times. Whether he’s relishing the company of friends over a homemade meal, creating culinary masterpieces in the kitchen, or imparting his expertise through cooking workshops, Mati thrives in his element. His cooking style, though devoid of textbook gastronomy education, is a beautiful symphony of intuition and experience, a dance of flavors that brings pure joy to the table. In our conversation, Mati shares some favorite food moments, how his relationship with cooking grew over the years, and tips to make simple yet delicious dishes. A small glimpse into Mati’s world of intuitive cooking.
7115: Can you tell us about your journey towards building a career in food? How has your relationship to food and cooking changed over the years?
Mati: My profesional carrer started in advertising and making food was a hobby and a side job. Now it’s both my hobby and my career so I couldn’t be happier! Delicious food and great produce is what puts smile on my face.
7115: Name a few favorite food moments or memories from any points in your life.
Mati: Dining in Mexico and Japan was literally living my dreams. But my favorite moment was having a simple lunch with my friends on the island of Ventotene in Italy at the permaculture farm called Cinque Tomoli. Everything was made of their own produce and tasted divine. Ventotene was our final destination of the cruise and we made it only because of the right wind. It was a very special experience and the route itself was definitely a big part of it.
7115: What informs your palate and tastes? Is this something that is intentionally honed, or would you say comes naturally?
Mati: I believe that taste palette is developed through childhood flavors and later food experiences. Although some people have better understanding in taste as others have better hearing. I experience life in general through flavors and smells. Fresh air of Copenhagen is one of the main reasons of me living here.
7115: Based on its name, intuitive cooking naturally calls upon the five senses and one’s experiences – how does your work inform your lifestyle and vice versa?
Mati: I’m intuitively a man of movement and sitting in the office was definitely noy for me. Physical aspect of working in the kitchen can get tough but im trying to keep myself in balance by yoga practice and good sleep. I’m also a morning person so I find working evenings and nights much more challenging than serving breakfast and lunch. Psyche Café is being shaped on that knowledge and I can’t wait to open our first permanent location soon!
7115: You’ve said before that food is your intuition. Can you expand on what that means? And can you describe what your current cooking style and outlook is?
Mati: As I’m lacking a proper gastronomical education my way of cooking is following the intuition. My connection with intuition is difficult to explain with words, it’s more of a feeling. A good example is a summer day in 2021 when I got delivery of new potatoes and delicious strawberries from Klippingegaard and put them both on a plate together with feta cheese and mint. There was no thinking behind that - my hands followed the intuition and made something actually very delicious and on point.
7115: We’re big believers that inspiration can be found in the everyday. What’s something from your everyday life that’s been keeping you curious or inspired as of late?
Mati: We are on the same page here so I’m just constantly searching for beauty and trying to translate it into my language of cooking. Art and design has been my big inspiration and luckily Copenhagen has a lot to offer in these fields.
7115: What’s something surprising or unexpected that you’ve learned from your path in food?
Mati: Food is my love language and I can’t be more grateful for all the friendships and connections I have made through making food. Sharing a meal is the ultimate way to foster relationships and deepen our understanding of each other. That's why I can't resist spending my free time cooking and nurturing my community.
7115: Any advice to new adventurers in a kitchen or those that don’t have confidence in their cooking?
Mati: My advice is to keep it simple and focus on the quality. Food likes salt - use only good quality salt and elevate flavors of good produce with nice salt. Source local and organic produce and try not to waste anything you buy. Open your heart and listen to your intuition - there is more there than your head knows already.