January 09, 2017
Chef Matt Ward Joins CVI at The Chef's Garden as Chef de Cuisine
Born and raised in Summerville, South Carolina, Matt Ward had a typical upbringing. He went to school at The College of Charleston and received a Bachelor's in Psychology. During his time in college he took on a full time job at a from-scratch cafe. As he was approaching graduation he sought a second job and responding to a Craigslist ad and he began a part time job as a banquet prep cook for French Master Chef Nico Romo of Patrick Properties Hospitality Group and Fish Restaurant.
After a month or so, due to a scheduling error, he reported to the wrong location. Nico put him in his car and drove a few miles down the peninsula. In the 6 minutes they were in the car, Matt told him about his love for food and Chef Nico told him he had a job for him. A week later Matt received a call from Chef Nico who told him to quit the deli and come work for him.
Matt started out slowly and worked his way up through the line. Chef Nico, along with his first Chef de Cuisine Charron Henry, spent a lot of time showing Matt the basics. Day in and day out they worked on knife skills, organization, working more refined and training his palette. As Matt started to explore his own creativity with the abundance of local ingredients and seafood, they continued to help him improve and grow as a cook.
Matt has flourished with the opportunities he has had working for Nico in the past 6 years at Fish and Patrick Properties. Patrick Properties is one of the highest rated and most sought after hospitality companies in the south. There are three historic venues – The William Aiken House, Lowndes Grove Plantation and The American Theater. Patrick Properties also owns Fish Restaurant (catering and restaurant are two separate operations in two different kitchens). Patrick Properties has been the host of the Charleston Wine and Food Festival on numerous occasions.
Matt has had the unique opportunity to have cooked alongside of some of the nation's most prolific chefs (John Ash, Justin Devilier, Tory McPhale, Gavin Kaysen, Anthony Lamas, Virginia Willis). He has also had opportunities to travel with Chef Nico and cook in Monterey Bay for the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Gala and even at The Culinary Vegetable Institute in May of this year!
“Chef Nico had taught me the importance of quality and sustainable ingredients - day after day, year after year” says Chef Matt. He is constantly learning and always looking for new ideas and inspirations from the very soil beneath his feet. “This is why I could not be more excited to come and be a part of the team at The Chef's Garden and CVI. To be able to taste an ingredient fresh off of a farm and to explore all aspects of color, flavor and texture is very important. Knowing where the product is from and how it was farmed is just as important as the way it looks, tastes and feels.”
Matt’s goal as a chef is to share those feelings with his guests through his food. He likes the weird flavor combinations and artistic expressions on a plate that would make you say "huh?" And then "Wow!"