A passion for food and flavor is part of Matthew Lewis’ DNA. Growing up in New Orleans, he was always happy to help his mom and grandmother in the kitchen. Standing on a stool so that he could see over the counter, he learned a lot of the traditional Creole dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya, and etouffee.
One of his favorite memories was going fishing with his grandfather and dad and coming back home and having a good ol’ southern fish fry. These simple delicacies have added flavor to his life and inspired him to share his passion by teaching others that cooking can be easy and fun and that anyone can do it.
Matthew was drawn into the professional world of cooking shortly after graduating from Xavier University in New Orleans, through his work at Breckinridge Brewery in Birmingham, Alabama. He began by waiting tables. Shortly afterward, the restaurant recognized his talent and provided him with opportunities to grow by placing him on the opening team as a corporate trainer for the wait staff where he helped open a restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee.
While working there he started to cover shifts in the kitchen to help fill some voids and found that he was naturally drawn to it. Remembering his love for cooking when he was little, he wanted to understand more about how to make good food great food. This is when he sought out the direction of one of the best, Frank Stitt.
Matthew started working for Frank in his restaurant Bottega in Birmingham, Alabama. He worked his way around all of the stations, absorbing as much as he could, paying attention to flavor combination, textures, and most of all, cooking technique. Quickly, Matthew was eager to take his skills to the next level. This opportunity materialized through another one of Frank’s restaurants, Highlands Bar and Grill, where he learned to make common Southern food extraordinary!
While working with Frank, Matthew also had the opportunity to work with another amazing chef, Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club. Working with Chris introduced Matthew to a different interpretation of Southern cuisine and taught him to always keep his eyes open to new ideas.
These amazing chefs gave Matthew the desire to refine his culinary skills even further which is why he attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York where he graduated second in his class. While there, he was chosen to attend the Food and Wine Festival in Aspen, CO.
There he had the opportunity to assist John Besh, world class chef, and a fellow New Orleans native. Matthew also acted as an ambassador at the CIA where he would go out to area high schools and teach students simple techniques that make cooking fun, and even inspired some of these students to pursue their own journey in the culinary industry.
After graduating from the CIA, Matthew worked at The Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle, WA; Scott Staples of Restaurant Zoe, a premier Northwest restaurant; Canlis, a landmark Seattle restaurant and the birthplace of Northwest Cuisine; and Toulouse Petit.
Matthew is a loving father, and regularly tests his recipes through dinner parties and church auctions, reaching out to the Seattle community sharing his knowledge and love for cooking.
Matthew no longer needs a stool to reach the counter, but he continues to learn, enjoy and share his culinary knowledge and curiosities with his family, friends and community.