This is part one of Holly Fann's Chef's Choice profile of Matthew Daughaday of Taste. Part two, a Q&A, will be published tomorrow, and part three, a recipe from Daughaday, will be available on Thursday.
Family dinner was an experience that happened at home, every night, at 6 p.m. when Taste (4584 Laclede Avenue; 314-361-1200) Executive Chef Matthew Daughaday was growing up in University City.
"My mom actually had a cow bell that she would ring from our back porch at dinner time," Daughaday says. "We'd be playing in the park and when we heard the bell we came home."
As he got older, Daughaday would cook, "what we thought were fancy dinners," with his high school friends.
Smiling, he remembers, "We made what we thought was sophisticated back then. We had wine and everything."
But his early love of cooking didn't suggest a career to him until after he attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, where he studied English education. During a stint preparing to-go meals at an organic food store in Durango he realized he wanted "to work with food every day."
After moving back to St. Louis, Daughaday enrolled in the culinary program at Forest Park Community College. Like many culinary arts students, he snagged a cooking gig on the side and wound up working full-time at Luciano's Trattoria (172 Carondelet Plaza, Clayton; 314-863-9969) -- and putting school on hold.
Two years later, he enrolled in the California Culinary Academy, where he received his culinary degree. After working in San Francisco at restaurants including Water Bar, Daughaday decided to extern in St. Louis and was accepted at Niche (1831 Sidney Street; 314-773-7755).
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