Meet Our Executive Chef, Matthew Thompson
Chef Matthew Thompson’s expertise in culinary leadership and commitment to crafting sustainable, healthy, delicious recipes makes him an inspiration to us all. From Boy Scout camp cook at age 14 to leading the culinary and sustainability vision of Harvest Table Culinary Group, he’s always found new and exciting ways to share his passion and make an impact on the world around him. We caught up with Chef Matthew Thompson to hear more about his unique perspective as a culinary innovator.
What excites you about the food industry?
We are amidst an incredible culinary renaissance where we are radically redefining our cultural relationship with food. We haven’t seen as a dynamic shift in the food landscape since the mid to late 1950’s industrialization of our food system. Ironically, we are fundamentally unraveling these industrialized developments and once more fully engaging clean, wholesome, fresh ingredients.
Throughout my time in the hospitality industry, ingredients are not the only transformation. We have fundamentally seen a change in the role of chef. The Executive Chef is the rock star of today, not just a cook proficient in technique and flavor development, but an educator, environmental steward, wellness advocate, leader, scientist, and innovator. I am passionate to be a part of leading our culinary revolution. As a Chef, I am focused on three key fundamentals: ingredient transparency, artisan small-batch preparation, and continuous menu innovation. In fact, it was from this that the Harvest Table Culinary Group was born. What motivates us at Harvest Table couldn’t be more relevant to what is happening in the food industry as a whole. Being on the cutting-edge or the next generation of food is what gets me excited every day.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
One piece of literature every chef is familiar with is Escoffier: Le Guide Culinaire, written by Georges Auguste Escoffier, attributed as the father of modern-day gastronomy. Today’s culinary renaissance encourages us to take this opportunity to return to our gastronomic roots by resetting the stage with classical techniques that elevate global ingredients and flavors to continuously innovate and enhance the guest experience.
Harvest Table Culinary Group is proud to embrace the Brigade de Cuisine or traditional French Kitchen Brigade system. Developed by Escoffier, the Kitchen Brigade is a system of hierarchy found in large restaurants and hotels and focuses on delegating responsibilities to different individuals who specialize in specific tasks in the kitchen. We elevate this experience by employing not only skilled, but independently certified chefs.
True success as a chef is not just about being a great cook -it’s more than that. Coming to work every day and leading the team in their own personal growth and development is truly an honor for me. I remember my own personal journey, and regularly attribute my success to the dozens of chefs I’ve had the pleasure of learning from. I strive every day to leave my mark on each member of our kitchen brigade.
What is your favorite dish to cook?
I hear this question all the time! I don’t necessarily have a signature recipe or a go-to dish. Honestly, for me it’s about discovery. I love learning about a dish I’ve never prepared before, experimenting with a new ingredient or technique. Even after twenty years in the kitchen, every day is a new learning experience for me. I guess my favorite dish is the one I’m just learning about today.
See one of Chef Thompson’s signature recipes, the Harvest Grain Bowl, or discover more Food For Thought by visiting his professional blog.