Our Second in a Series of Interviews with Bocuse d’Or USA Team Members as They Prepare for the International Culinary Competition
[Ed. Note: Periodically throughout 2016, we’ll check in with key figures from the Bocuse d’Or USA team that will compete in Lyon in January 2017. The team operates under the auspices and support of Ment’or BKB, the foundation led by Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Jérôme Bocuse.]
Chef Mathew Peters has had a front-row seat to the highs and lows of the US efforts at the Bocuse d’Or since the direction of the American squad was taken over by Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Jérôme Bocuse in 2008. A longtime member of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group (he has toggled back and forth between Per Se and The French Laundry) Peters threw his toque in the ring for the 2017 team and won the honor of competing in a tryout event in Las Vegas last December. We recently spoke to Matt to check in and see how the early phase of his preparations is going.
[Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]
Tell me a little about yourself. Where were you cooking before Per Se and how long have you been there?
I started at Le Cordon Blue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I worked at a few places in Pittsburgh. A friend of mine had the opportunity to go down to Naples, Florida, and reached out to me. I did some research and found out about The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton. I moved everything to Naples, and worked in the hotel, which had a Greenbrier-esque training program. I had the chance to to work in The Dining Room for Franck Steigerwald from Maestro restaurant [just outside] DC. When they started closing The Dining Room down, I decided to move to New York City to further my education, then found my way to Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis. After about a year and a half, I applied to Per Se and was hired. After three years, I was promoted to sous chef, then Chef [Keller] reached out to me and asked me if I’d come out to The French Laundry. I worked there for two years with Tim Hollingsworth, then Chef [David] Breeden, who was executive sous chef at Per Se, then I was asked to come back to New York City.
There’s often a story about how chefs and commis connect for this event. Anything good there about you and your commis, Harrison Turone?