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For Matthew Jennings, it’s all about the experience. Jennings grew up in a New England household that treasured the art of crafting unique and genuine culinary experiences. His parents’ farm-to-table style offered him the ability to source vegetables from the family garden or learn about the meaningful process of an ocean harvest. Matthew took his upbringing with him into his career. He graduated from the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont where he would begin to make a name for himself while cooking in notable European and American kitchens. He then went on to lead the specialty sourcing program at Cowgirl Creamery, Tomales Bay Foods in San Francisco and Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA. In 2014 Jennings would return to his Boston roots and open Townsman, a restaurant that celebrates his bold cooking style and dedication to local and seasonal ingredients. Throughout his professional career as a Chef, he’s received numerous accolades including four consecutive James Beard Foundation Award nominations for Best Chef: Northeast, a spot on Food & Wine’s “40 Under 40 Big Thinkers in America” list, and three Cochon 555 wins.
Today, Matthew has added a new layer to his cooking style by infusing his creations in a little wood-fired flavor, and smoking meats and various dishes on his Pro 34 and Timberline 850 grills. Seasonal and locally sourced ingredients are brought to life with the vibrant and natural flavors of cooking with wood. Jennings’ continued culinary innovation and his love for the art of creating meaningful dishes adds another layer of meaning to our Pro Team.
Tell us about your most memorable food experience?
Growing up, cooking bluefish on the grill with my stepdad, after long sessions of surfcasting in Nantucket.
Who do you credit with helping you most in your career, any mentors or people you look up to?
Ihsan Gurdal of Formaggio Kitchen was a great inspiration to me, and taught me a lot while I worked for him. His dedication to his work, unwavering expectations and strive for excellence really stuck with me.
For beginner home or professional cooks, what’s the one bit of advice you would give?
Build a foundation of recipes and techniques you are comfortable with, then use those as a way to explore new, un-charted territory. Build upon the base you have. And work organized and clean.
What’s your favorite thing to eat when no one’s watching?