Air date: 7/2/2019
About this episode:
Chef Matthew Ginn oversees menu creation and operations at Evo Kitchen + Bar, a 50-seat upscale and modern eatery located on Fore Street in downtown Portland, Maine.
Ginn began his culinary career in 2006, cooking for a corporate restaurant in Arizona. His interest in the profession began much earlier: growing up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, he took his first job at 14 picking strawberries for Maxwell’s Farm. During summers through high school and college, he worked in the produce and meat departments at the local grocery store and washed dishes and prep-cooked at local restaurants.
Ginn’s passion for hospitality derived from the excitement of working the busy line. In 2007, he returned to Portland and took a position at Five Fifty-Five, where his interest in fine dining evolved. He spent two years learning from acclaimed chef, Steve Corry. Matt’s pursuit of excellence continues at Portland’s modern eatery, Evo Kitchen + Bar. Focused on cuisine inspired by the flavors of the eastern Mediterranean, the menu offers dynamically flavored small plates inspired by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Cyprus, Turkey and beyond.
Chef Matt was awarded Lobster Chef of the Year in October 2015, cooked at the James Beard House in New York City in 2017, and won Food Network’s Chopped episode “Room for Shrooms” which aired on July 10, 2018.
In this episode:
0:35 – Nancy kicks off the podcast by asking how Matt’s career as a chef started.
4:28 – Matt shares how he thrives in chaos rather than in a structured classroom, which is part of the reason he loves working in the kitchen.
5:56 – Nancy asks about Matt’s experience with the Chopped championships where he won Room for Shrooms and competed in the Champs Throwdown.
9:25 – Nancy and Matt discuss how Evo is like kitchen theater, with the kitchen on display.
12:42 – Matt says he doesn’t think he would change much if he could do it all over again because of the experiences he has had along the way.
14:54 – Nancy and Matt talk about how Portland is a foodie city that keeps growing.
16:49 – Matt shares how he has used social media and how he wasn’t convinced to use social media at first.
22:23 – Nancy talks about how social media can lead to meeting people in person, including the way she met Matt.
28:41 – Matt shares that the best way to measure success is not by how many people come to the restaurant but by taking feedback into consideration.
33:59 – Matt describes how his network has grown consciously by starring on Chopped but has mostly grown organically.
35:04 – Nancy asks how Matt’s athletic background has helped in his career.
39:30 – Matt shares how the food that he cooks is inspired by many different cultures and countries, but is not limited to one way to make food.
“I think working in hospitality, and certainly in the back of the house, you don’t do it for the money. You have to have some kind of passion when you do it. You do it because you love to cook.” — Matt Ginn, Chef, Evo Kitchen & Bar
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