Chef Matt DeAngulo was the opening chef for Olive, an urban dive in 2011 and then served as the executive chef at Victoria Theatre Association’s Citilites at the Schuster Center and Event Services Department for nearly six years. In January of 2020 it was announced that they were closing down for renovations and a concept change, laying off all staff.
Chef Matt, began volunteering more time with a local organization Set the Banquet Table, which was founded by baker and former Executive Director of House of Bread, Bill Evans. And then COVID 19 hit. In mid-March, Chef Matt DeAngulo asked friend and Set the Banquet Table Chairman, Bill Evans, the best way to help. A couple of conversations more and Chef Matt had activated a team of recently unemployed chefs and culinary professionals to assist by quickly and efficiently bulk preparing nutritious food.
As word got out among the social services community, Chef Matt’s meals were in demand. In his quest to feed the hungry in the region the vision for Miami Valley Meals was born. Using the skills of local chefs, they were able to use every bit of the donated food they received to create bulk nutritious meals to those in need.
Matt guides the culinary team to transform recovered foods into hearty, chef-inspired meals to be distributed to a network of partners serving the hungry in the Miami Valley—free of charge.
Chef Matt took time out of creating over 3500/meals per week to answer our 10 questions:
What ingredient do you dread? Beans! They are like eating a Tylenol capsule filled with applesauce. The plastic-like outer skin and a mushy center, no thanks! Honestly, I enjoy the flavor of beans, just not the texture, so to put that as my dreaded ingredient is a bit selfish. Kidding aside, I will have to say offal meats are my least favorite ingredients to work with.
What’s your favorite dish to make? A dish I call Rotolino. It was created by my mentor, Chef Dennis McCarthy, and passed along to me. I use it as a teaching technique (similar to foie gras torchon) with young chefs and everyone gets to enjoy the result. It consists of 4 cheeses, 3 pestos, and pinenuts, rolled up to make a pinwheel that screams Italian on an American table.
What’s your favorite pig out food? Midwestern home cooking. I can eat meatloaf stuffed with mac-n-cheese and wrapped in bacon until I have to lay down. I may create modernist cuisine professionally, but I can never escape the meat and potato in me.
What restaurant, other than your own, do you like to dine at in the Miami Valley? There are many wonderful places to dine in our region to carve out just one. I tend to find myself in a booth at any ma and pop kitchen I come across, looking for that genuine heartfelt creation. Yet to put a spotlight on the best we have around, I have enjoyed experiencing what Chef Wiley has done at her restaurants over the years, along many of the other greats that have come and gone, but truly the props go out to all of those independents getting up everyday and cooking their hearts out.
What’s your best advice for home chefs? Learn flavor structure, the 5 basic flavors and how to balance them. It is the building block for all successful dishes. I have run into so many chefs that learned how to cook a dish by watching someone but never took the time to learn why it worked well. How to balance flavors to dishes you already make will change the outcome; I guarantee.
If you could invite any 4 guests to a dinner party, who would they be and why? That is a difficult answer to locate. So many have influenced me and I feel are worthy to mention. However to choose a group, Thomas Keller would always be someone I would like to dine with, as he is America’s greatest chef. Add the late Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsey because they will tell you like it is, plus Bill Murray because he would never stop laughing, and that would be an entertaining evening with great food!
Who do you look up to in the industry and why? All of those old skoolers. The ones who worked to the end, never giving up, and wearing the honor with their crews. The ones who stayed to hone their craft. And the many young chefs I watch, that one in every one-hundred cooks you meet that will become a chef in their own right, are the ones I look up to today.
What do you do in the Miami Valley on a day off? I spend it with the people I love. My hobbies are my passion and I usually end up near a place with food. You can find me out in nature, at a ballgame or concert, or resting watching a movie, but it always ends with food.
Share a kitchen disaster, lucky break or other interesting story: Many years ago, I was hired as a new corporate chef for an independent dining group in downtown Columbus. Two weeks into my tenure was Easter Sunday. I spent the week prepping and setting up the usual. I was all ready to go. Turns out, the night before was graduation day for OSU, and I had no idea of the amount of people we would serve, since I was from out of town. Needless to say, I ended up using much of my Easter prep to complete dinner service that night. After the shift ended, myself, my sous chef and her wife (also a cook) stayed through the night and into the next day restocking the menu. That Easter we served over 800 guests and no one had any idea I was on a 32 hour straight shift to make it happen. That was the longest shift of my career.