Culinary Quips

Chef Matt Interview Cont...

Basil Pesto and PastaQ: What is your signature dish to prepare?
A: That is an incredibly hard question to ask a Chef. Early in my career I would have said something like Chateaubriand with Fire Roasted Chanterelle Mushrooms with a classic Béarnaise Sauce. Today I would say preparing a simple dish of pasta with fresh basil pesto with my three daughters helping me in the kitchen. To me cooking with them is what life is all about.

Q: What 5 ingredients are staples in your kitchen?
A: Kosher Salt, Fresh Garlic, Herbs from my garden (fresh or dried), Olive Oil, and Bacon. Having these items available in my kitchen at all times, allows me to enhance the flavors of anything I might cook. Besides, who doesn't love BACON?

Q: What is your favorite type of cuisine?
A: As a Chef, I love all types of cuisine. For the past few years I have been studying what I call "Peasant Cooking". Every culture and region of the world has developed their mainstream cuisine from techniques developed by cooks from the poorer or working classes of society. These amazing cooks would take ingredients that they produced or that no one else wanted, and transform them into incredibly tasty and flavorful meals. They achieved these amazing results by incorporating powerful spices, utilizing slow cooking methods to transform tougher cuts of meat into tender, mouthwatering meals, and poured their hearts into every dish. To me that is the "soul" of cooking. Anyone can take great ingredients and create a meal, but it takes a true talent to transform less desirable ingredients into a culinary masterpiece.

Q: What is the key to the success of building and maintaining client relationships?
A: I believe listening is the key to building and maintaining client relationships. By listening, I can gain a thorough understanding of their needs, and provide them with proper product support and platform solutions. By providing accurate solutions to the client's needs, it builds trust between both parties.

Q: What was the most challenging project you took on for a client, and what was the outcome?
A: I was asked by a chain of Mexican restaurants to evaluate their current kitchen lay out and equipment, along with how they were preparing their products. I spent several day observing their operation, production, products and efficiencies. Through my observations, I was able to make suggestions on new equipment platforms that would produce enhanced quality, increased yields, and decrease labor costs. I was also able to recommend product cooking applications to existing equipment, to increase their production and decrease the overall footprint of their kitchen. The client was very happy with the results and suggestions I provided and is currently reviewing their equipment portfolio.


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