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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chef's Choice: Matthew Daughaday of Taste, Part 2

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Page 3 of 3

St. Louis needs more what? Attention. We have good food, we have people who care about it, we just need more attention here. That's one of the reasons I came back to St. Louis after culinary school -- I know a lot of good chefs from St. Louis who left for bigger cities and their resources but the more attention we get we'll keep more good chefs from leaving.

What is your best tip for home cooks? Don't think your food sucks. Everybody who cooks at home thinks that their food isn't good enough.

What is your favorite after work hangout? I like to go home, spend some time with my girlfriend. If I do go out, I like to go somewhere with a dart board.

Your favorite kitchen tool? My hands. People have gotten mad at me over it, commented on it, but if I can plate something with my hands or take something out of a pan with my hands, I will. People make fun of me because I can't feel anything in my fingers anymore.

What inspires you? Passion. Seeing someone who loves what they do, it doesn't have to be food related -- but seeing someone who really cares about what they'e doing inspires me to want to be better at what I do.

Proudest professional moment thus far? Actually, more towards my beginning when I got my externship at Niche and got to work on the line at Niche. It let me know that I was actually decent at what I was doing because of the high esteem I had for that place. That was an inspiring moment.

What's the most difficult lesson you've learned in this business? When I worked the protein station at Water Bar in San Francisco, I was young and shy and quiet, and I worked this massive wood oven that was extremely hot and I got kicked off my station three times in the year I worked there. Each time I thought I should quit, that I wasn't good enough to do this and never would be. But I think every good line cook has that epiphany moment when they see how everything works and it was the night my sous chef was about to hit me in the face because he was so mad at me and I was so in the weeds and was about to be hurt by my chef that I had that moment and I saw how it all works. That was the last night I ever got kicked off my station or ever got really weeded on a station.

When did you know the chefs life was for you? I loved cooking and I knew it was always something I wanted to do but when I was cooking at Niche with Nate Hereford and Ray Carpenter on what I think was the best core line of cooks I had ever worked with and putting out really good food -- I realized that if everyday could be like this, I could definitely do this and be happy for the rest of my life.

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