Rei Matteson | Københavnersnuden #244

Rei Matteson | Københavnersnuden #244

by 18/08/2019
This Weeks Copenhagener is American Rei Matteson who is the man behind the new New York Bagel at Meyers Deli, just launched this week. He is a young man of 28 years with several talents and a not very ordinary life story. Rei was born and raised in a religious cult in Wisconsin that his parents broke out of when he was three years old. He has 14 brothers and sisters, is homeschooled and got a job in a kitchen as a 14-year-old to make money for the household. He has worked at a Jewish bakery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the luxury bagel shop Black Seeds in New York and at Meyers at Grand Central Station in 2018. Now, Rei has agreed to bake in Denmark for the rest of 2019 as a beginning . Although Rei is trained in sourdough bread and cakes, bagels are his specialty. By the way, Rei also goes by the name ‘The Singing Baker’? Just check out his Instagram profile @unknoba – then you understand why.

LC: What are you up to at the moment?
RM: Right now, I’m hanging out in the sun by Tivoli with a group of friends and a bottle of wine – I just got off work, where I’m managing the bakery at Meyers Deli. I’m from New York, where I developed a recipe for a bagel especially for Denmark. I’m trying to translate the US bagel to the Danish market. The texture is the main difference, and I’m baking the bagels fresh every single morning at Meyeres Deli.

LC: Where do you live?
RM: I live in Amager, which I’m super happy about. I live five minutes from Islands Brygge, where I play a lot of volleyball, and I also often go the beach to take a swim.

LC: Where do you go out?
RM: In Copenhagen you can hang out drinking in the street, which is quite foreign to me coming from New York where you get a ticket if you walk around with a beer in your hand. So here in copenhagen I love grabbing a bottle of wine or champagne or a sixpack of beer and hang out in the park. I visit Kongens Have quite often, but I really love HC Ørstedsparken, where you can sit on a hill in the sunshine and watch the ducks swimming in the small lake.

LC: Where do you drink coffee?
RM: As a new yorker, I go for the cheapest coffee possible – so I look up 10 kr. coffee or 15 kr. coffee. I don’t care about the coffee as long as it gets me where I want to. I like Zaggis Coffee by Dronning Louises Bro – here the cheap coffee is actually good. Otherwise, I like hanging out by the lakes at Original Coffee where the coffee is super good.

LC: Where do you go out to eat?
RM: It really depends on my mood. Sometimes I feel like eating sushi, and sometimes I don’t. I don’t have a favourite dish or anything, I just like to try something new. I really like Mission, where I have been three times now. I always order ‘the trip to the kitchen’, where the kitchen decides what you are eating. It’s a little different every time, and it’s always very nice.

LC: Where do you party?
RM: I often go to houseparties. Clubbing I don’t do so much. I have a lot of gay friends, so often we end up going to gay bars – or go to a lot of different places in the city. I love going out in Sydhavnen.

LC: Where do you get inspiration?
RM: Usually by the water. There are so much water surrounding Copenhagen, and that’s where i get my inspiration. When my dad passed away he said that he would always be with me in the rain – så when I’m close to water, I feel the most inspired.

LC: What is your favorite place in Copenhagen?
RM: Assistens Kirkegård. I used to work at Meyers Madhus and at the bakery in Jægersborggade – and when I got off work, I would go for a walk in the park. The birds are always singing, and it’s very peaceful.

LC: Where did you last fall in love with/in Copenhagen?
RM: I met a Danish girl five months ago, whom I fell in love with.  Last time I fell in love with Copenhagen was at Distortion and at Roskilde Festival. Danes are a bit conservative when they speak to eachother and they don’t really interact much. It’s like you always try and figure out what the agenda is when you speak to a stranger. But at Distortion and Roskilde Festival people where much more free and relaxed – and with so many people at the same place, you have to talk to each other and interact. That was when I experienced a little shift in the culture here.

LC: What is your best memory of Copenhagen?
RM: Falling in love 🙂

LC: Your recommendation for the best experience in Copenhagen?
RM: Don’t go to the little mermaid! It’s such a disappointment! You should rather go on a picnic at Kastellet. It’s a very beautiful park, which used to be a fortress. In the area there is the English church, which i beautiful, and there are lots of statues and green spots where you can picnic.

LC: Although Copenhagen is great, you now have the opportunity to add the one thing you think the city lacks – what is it?
RM: Dollar pizza, that’s missing! Dollar pizza means that every 10 meter you a walk in New York, you can get a one dollar pizza slice. You don’t have that here in Copenhagen. But the culture here is also very different from New York, because you don’t go out to eat much. People often tell me, oh, we’ve already been out to dinner twice this month, so we can’t afford going out to eat right now. It’s pretty expensive eating out in Copenhagen. Your supermarkets are cheap, but the restaurants are expensive.

LC: Your soundtrack to the city?
RM: I listen to a lot of Travis Scott, and I also saw his amazing concert at Roskilde Festival. I also listen to Frank Ocean all the time – but something new, that I’ve been adding to me playlist while being here in Copenhagen is Hans Philip. And I also understand a little bit of what he’s saying in his songs! 🙂


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