Chef Profile:Matt Meyerkord Executive Chef at One Fifty One Kitchen | Bar in Elmhurst
Matt Meyerkord Executive Chef at One Fifty One Kitchen | Bar in Elmhurst
Years as a chef? I've been working in kitchens for nearly 20 years, with the last year at One Fifty One Kitchen | Bar as Executive Chef. From steakhouses to smaller “mom + pop” kitchens, I’ve had the opportunity to work in a range of kitchens to learn and develop my skill set.
Have you always been interested in cooking? Ever since I was a young child, I was always fascinated with cooking. I would often be alongside my mother cooking in the kitchen or outside grilling with my Dad.
What is your culinary training? Most of my training has been working in kitchens. I went to culinary school but believe that I have learned most through hands-on experiences. My career in the kitchen started early as a butcher while in culinary school. Since then, I have worked every position in the back of the house.
Describe your daily routine. One of the best parts of this industry is that no two days are the same. Whether it’s creating a special moment for a guest or putting out a small “fire,” you are constantly shuffling responsibilities around. That’s what makes it fun and exciting!
Your go-to cookbook? Joy of Cooking. It’s well written and provides detailed instruction on each recipe. For a beginner, it’s the perfect tool to get you up and running.
Favorite ingredients to work with? Anything fresh and free of pesticides and GMOs. I always start with the selection of quality proteins from the butcher and work my way to nutrient-rich vegetables and, finally, a savory starch.
Favorite dish to make? At One Fifty One Kitchen | Bar, my favorite is our Crispy Pork Belly. It’s definitely a labor of love but worth every minute. It just melts in your mouth!
How often do you overhaul the menu or add new items? We do three to four seasonal menus a year. Depending on weather and available ingredients, we may do a few small changes or revamp the whole thing. Mother nature is a vital player in menu development.
Top tip for foodie home cooks or aspiring chefs? Take risks. Cooking is not just technique and skill, you need to have passion. Try new tools and experiment with different flavors. Trial and error is everything in the kitchen.
Do you think social media impacts how we view and enjoy food? Absolutely! We eat with our eyes first and social media has allowed us to preview a dish or menu item before actually visiting the restaurant! Dining choices are made based on these pictures. I love the challenge it poses to create a dish that is “Instagram-worthy.”
Guilty pleasure or junk food you really enjoy? That’s an easy one, Home Run Inn pizza!
Favorite food trend? Farm to table. It’s not new anymore but I enjoy cooking with locally sourced ingredients. Fresher is better!
Kitchen utensils you can't live without? A sharp knife — a dull knife is always more dangerous than a sharpened one.
Hobbies when not cooking? I have my pilot’s license. Flying has always been a passion!
Favorite restaurant? Topolobampo in Chicago. My wife and I love Mexican cuisine!Edit Module