Mitch Orr – the pasta whizz who co-founded seminal Rushcutters Bay diner Acme, headed up the kitchen at Maurice Terzini’s Cicciabella and has worked at Sepia and Pilu at Freshwater – has been appointed head chef of Pilu’s new Baretto Nights wine bar.

He’ll be crafting snacks such as hash browns with taleggio, and pea and edamame bruschetta, along with heftier dishes including snapper crudo with charred watermelon and nori, grilled prawns, and a frequently changing pasta (first up: malloreddus, a gnocchi-style pasta from Sardinia, with spanner crab and tomato butter). In other words, the perfect food to enjoy with a Negroni or spritz as the sun sets.

What’s your new job title?

Head chef. I’ll be running Pilu Baretto Nights, Friday through Sunday, for the length of daylight savings.

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I’m excited to relaunch Baretto Nights. What better place to work through the summer than Freshwater Beach?

Why did you decide to join the restaurant?
Giovanni and Marilyn reached out to me, I think they realised I needed to get off my bum. Pilu has always been one of my fave restaurants, and I’ve got really fond memories of working there over a decade ago now. Giovanni and Marilyn have continued to be mentors and big supporters through my career. It feels like a nice homecoming, in a way. I’ll get to cook the food I love cooking and have a few swims before work.

Do you have any plans or ideas for your new role?
I’ll be cooking the food I love cooking. Seasonal and snacky. Perfect plates for sitting by the ocean as the sun sets with a glass of orange wine or an Ichnusa [a Sardinian beer]. We’ll keep the focus on vegetables and seafood.

Will you bring along any dishes or ideas you’re known for?
I’ll put my little touches on some classic Italian snacks and, of course, I’m bringing my pasta game with me. We’ll see if any old favourites make an appearance, hopefully we can create some new ones.

Will we see any cool dishes or ideas?
It’s me, of course you will. We’ll see how much [owners] Giovanni and Marilyn let me get away with.

Pilu Baretto Nights begins on October 9. Book here.