"What does a real carrot taste like?"...that's the question that propelled Michael to take a sabbatical from cooking and delve into growing food. Leaving Virginia and moving to Petaluma, CA in 2010, he lived and worked on Green String Farm as an intern and began to appreciate "real" vegetables, grown naturally and fresh from the ground. That desire to stay connected to the land, once again, drew him out of the kitchen and up to Washington where he worked for Goose and Gander Farm in the Snoqualmie River Valley.
Originally trained in France in the classical techniques, he has since cooked in many different sorts of restaurants on both coasts, but his most valuable education came through his six years spent at Camino in Oakland, CA. It was there, ultimately as co-chef with owner Russell Moore, that he truly developed an appreciation and fondness for an honest cooking style that embodies both lightness and depth, focusing on vegetables and locally sourced ingredients.
Having grown up in small-town southern Taiwan, Michael is often nostalgic for the bright smells and rich flavors that take him back to his grandparents' kitchen and the food carts that lined the local streets. He is happy to let these early influences sneak back into the food that he makes. This year, Michael and Matthew will be growing a wide variety of heirloom vegetables on a half acre that he is leasing from Goose and Gander Farm.
Matthew grew up drinking wine with his family at their own dining table and began to read and explore the subject more deeply as a teenager. That interest has developed into a passion over the years and ultimately a second career in wine. Certified with the International Sommelier Guild in Canada, he has spent the last twelve years immersed in wine on the West Coast.
Matthew prefers to champion smaller producers and family-run wineries, as those tend to be the ones taking a thoughtful, hands-on approach to making wine naturally, caring for the land and producing wines of character and place. And knowing Michael's cooking well, he'll surely bring something delicious to the table.