Washington State Chef's

Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight - October 2012

MATTHEW DIMEO, CEC

Favorite Quote

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

-Albert Einstein

Bio

Chef Matthew DiMeo has been a WSCA Member since 1998. He began his culinary career working as a bread baker in the locally famous Italian restaurant DeFazio’s in his hometown of Wichita, Kan.  Catching the culinary bug, he then moved to Kansas City Missouri and completed the ACF apprenticeship program at Johnson Country Community College and spent 4 years working and learning at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center under the guidance of Tim Ryan C.E.C. Looking to broaden his experience, he moved to Seattle and honed his cooking and managerial skills at various local restaurants including Earth and Ocean, Daniel’s Broiler, and Newcastle golf club.  He landed his first executive chef position at the Iris Grill in Issaquah Washington where he managed the kitchen for 3 years.  Hearing about an open chef instructor position, he left The Iris to pursue a new path as an instructor of culinary arts at Lake Washington Institute of Technology in 2009.  He enjoys writing culinary articles for the local Kirkland Reporter, traveling, playing guitar, gardening, astronomy, chess, and hanging out with his wife Tandy and their cairn terrier Chip at their home in Renton.

In 5 years I would like to live abroad in Italy and lead a hot food competition team to a National ACF competition.

What the ACF means to me:

As a sometimes overly confident young cook who thought he knew it all, I couldn’t grasp the importance of the ACF in my career and in the industry.  I’ve since grown in age and experience and realized that the culinary world needs a national governing body to keep our industry’s standards at the highest possible level.  The ACF also has the important job of keeping the vast network of culinary professionals informed and united in our common goal.  Having measurable outcomes in culinary education and certification is imperative in any trade and the ACF gives us that.   It was important to accept that the ACF isn’t out to get me, but hold me to a high standard which in turn made me a stronger cook, manager, and now instructor.  Leading my team to victory at the recent Knowledge Bowl Competition in Orlando while attending my first national convention was a truly amazing experience.  To see my students succeed after so many hours of practice and study was very rewarding.  We hope to be back next year and continue to gain respect and notoriety for our school and chapter.

 

Favorite Recipe

RABBIT RAGOUT

Yield: Serves 2 people

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil – 1 T
  • Butter – 1 T
  • Pancetta – 2 oz
  • Whole rabbit – 1 ea
  • AP Flour (seasoned) – 2 C
  • Mirepoix(small dice) – 1 C
  • Dried mushooms (porcini) – 4 ea
  • Garlic – 1 T
  • Butter – 1 oz
  • Flour – 1 oz
  • Tomato Paste – 2 T
  • White wine – ½ C
  • Chicken Stock (or rabbit) – 1 QT.
  • Crushed Red pepper – TT
  • Bouquet Garni – 1 ea, fresh sprig of thyme, rosemary, oregano, 4ea parsley stems
  • S&P – TT
  • Butter – 1 oz
  • Chopped Italian Parsley – 2 T
  • Orange – ½ ea

 

Procedure:

  1. Fabricate rabbit into 6 parts and dredge well in seasoned flour, dusting off excess flour as needed.  In a large oven ready skillet, brown rabbit well in olive oil and butter.  Remove rabbit pieces and set aside. Discard excess fat from pan and render pancetta over medium heat until it begins to brown and crisp.  In a separate sauce pan, bring chicken stock to a simmer.  Soak dried mushrooms in hot water until softened.
  2. Add butter to the pancetta and caramelize mirepoix on medium heat. After vegetables are well browned, (about 10-12 minutes) add garlic and sauté for another minute.   Add flour and stir to make roux.  Cook roux and vegetables until roux has achieved a blond stage, (about 6-8 minutes.)   Add tomato paste and crushed red pepper and sauté for1-2 minutes.  Deglaze with white wine.   Slowly whisk in stock and the reconstituted mushrooms with liquid.   Add bouquet garni and orange half.  Bring mixture to a slow simmer and add browned rabbit pieces back into the sauce mixture.
  3. Cover with foil and place in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until rabbit is tender and sauce has reduced. Remove rabbit from the pan and if desired, strain the sauce into small sauce pan reduce if necessary.   Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Add the fresh chopped parsley, and finish by whisking in whole butter.  Allow rabbit to cool and tear off all the meat from the carcass and add it to the sauce.  Serve by tossing ragu with fresh cooked pasta or gnocchi and top with grated parmesano reggiano.  Eat it!