Though his childhood dream of becoming a professional cyclist ended when he suffered a leg injury that required him to learn how to walk again, it’s a safe bet that Matt Accarrino probably doesn’t have many regrets. Following his injury, Matt discovered his passion for cooking, drawing on his Italian background and the technical training he received working in some of America’s top kitchens.
Matt has earned praise from numerous publications including Food & Wine magazine, Bon Appetit magazine, Saveur magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and SF magazine. Matt’s restaurant, SPQR (which stands for “Senatus Populusque Romanus,” a symbol of the Roman Empire) has received a Michelin star under his direction, and Matt himself has earned plenty of praise and attention. Matt was named a “2010 Rising Star” by StarChefs.com, and he is a four-time semifinalist for a James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: West.” Food & Wine magazine gave him the title of “People’s Best Chef California” in 2013, and he won their “Best New Chef” award in 2014.
In addition to his accomplishments inside the kitchen, Matt has also published book: “SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine,” which was released in 2012. And, proving that you can have it all, Matt is still an avid cyclist.
Specialties & Resources
Like many California chefs on this list, Matt is committed to using the best locally-sourced ingredients in his dishes, and the result is nothing short of astounding. Though his background is in traditional Italian fare, Matt’s experience working with some of the country’s best chefs has given him an arsenal of creative approaches to choose from when putting together his dishes.
At SPQR, offerings include chicken liver mousse with red wine pear marmellata and balsamic gelatin; butternut squash soup with fried gulf shrimp, tarragon and burgundy truffle; raddichio and poached apple with goat feta, chestnut, mulled red wine and challah crouton; arugula & frisee salad with pink grapefruit, honeyed bacon, pecans and blue cheese; sweet carrot & lentil salad with medjool dates and vadouvan curry cream; red trout and roe with green apples, maple, dates and celery root salad; octopus & kale sprout with panissa, chickpea, pistachio and preserved lemon; chestnut and garnet yam tortelli with verjus cherry, brown butter and sage; duck lasagna with brussels sprouts and pumpernickel; buckwheat tagliatelle with cider and bacon-braised suckling pork and spigarello; stuffed quail with garnet yam, chestnut, medjool dates, baby kale and quince saba; and sturgeon with okra, caramelized sunchoke and mustards.