Named a “2013 Best New Chef” by Food & Wine, Matthew Gaudet is certainly a culinary force to be reckoned with. His Cambridge, MA restaurant, West Bridge, which Matthew co-owns with Alexis Gelburd-Kimler, opened only a year before that accolade, in May 2012. Almost immediately, the restaurant received positive reviews from the Boston media circuit.
As an alum of highly acclaimed restaurants throughout New York City and Boston, it’s no surprise that Matthew’s strong foundation and hard work has put him in a place for success. Before opening West Bridge, the Massachusetts native held positions in New York City at Jean-Georges, Eleven Madison Park, Aquavit, and Tocqueville, and in Boston at Aquitaine and Brasserie Jo.
His personal culinary stamp? As Food & Wine reports, Matthew is amazing “because of his compelling twists on regional New England cooking.” And his current menu encapsulates elements of this:. But one of the most popular, buzzing menu items at West Bridge, it seems, is the Egg in a Jar creation, which includes duck egg, artichoke, pomme puree, and crispy skin presented in — well, yes — a jar.
West Bridge’s point-of-view is a marriage between sophisticated French cooking and New England comfort. Its dinner menu it served up family style, giving guests a choice of three small plates and one share dish (for parties of three or more, it’s $52 per person). For beverages, a cocktail menu boasts creations like Love and Fear (Plymouth gin, Aperol, lemon, pineapple, fernet) and Amarillo by Night (bourbon, Cynar, cardamom, Boomtown bitters), and wines by the bottle and glass are available, as well as canned craft brews and a handful of beers on draft to cover all the bases — a porter, pale ale, saison, lager, cider, and a rotating option.
Below, we ask the Chef six quick (and fun) questions.
The Quick Six
Foodable: What’s the first meal that changed your life?
Matthew Gaudet: Tough question. Not sure if there’s one that changed my life. Meals at Mugaritz, Bras, and Reflets & Gagnaire sure did motivate it. But I can remember working at Grouse Mountain Grill in Beaver Creek — my first fine-dining job experience was eye-opening. That was a turning point and when I realized I wanted to cook for a career, hobby, and lifetime.
Foodable: Who is one person that you would love to cook for (that you haven’t already)?
MG: There isn’t “one” person. I don’t have any star or hero crushes, but that being said, anytime I can cook for other chefs, especially great ones, it’s always inspiring. And anytime I can cook for friends and family, that’s really the best. That’s what it’s all about — sharing with people you care about, not trying to impress the masses.
Foodable: Who is your culinary mentor and/or what motivates you?
MG: [It’s] between Jean-Georges and the Nils Noren/Marcus Samuelsson combo. I reflect back on what I learned then to push forward. Also, through eating, reading, and traveling.
Foodable: Where is your favorite restaurant to eat at when you aren’t working?
MG: Locally, on days off, I tend to eat pho soup. So this tiny place, Pho ’n Rice, has been a go-to. Outside of that, I don’t have any frequented places.
Foodable: One ingredient you could not live without?
MG: Vinegar. Or water. Or citrus. Or olive oil.
Foodable: What’s the most important lesson you learned in your first year of owning a restaurant?
MG: Pay attention to all the details — from seasoning your food, to guest relations, to supporting your staff. You have to keep your mind on all of these aspects because they are all equally important. ‘Success is the sum of a lot of small things done correctly,’ and ‘if you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it again?’