Chef Spotlight

The ACF Columbus Chapter would like to take a moment and recognize one of its valued members in our monthly newsletter. This month it is you! Please take a moment to fill in the areas that follow and send responses back to our Communications Chair via email: [email protected]

The Basics

Name: Matt Smith, CEC

Position/Employer: Executive Chef / Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square

Years in the Industry: 19

What got you into the business?

I had been cooking in few restaurants when attended a career tech program my senior year of High School. My culinary instructor there Chef Shelia Hamm really pushed me to recognize my talents and pursue education and career in the industry.

Where did you receive your training?

Tri-Rivers Career Center in Marion, Ohio / Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio / Beyond that I had the gift of working with some very talented Chefs in the industry who pushed me to consistently be better than I was the day before.

What places have you worked prior to your current role?

Michael’s Steak House, Marion, Ohio / Red Lobster, Marion, Ohio / Bob Evans, Marion, Ohio / Marion Country Club, Marion, Ohio / Hyatt on Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio / Hyatt Regency Savannah, Savannah, Georgia / Westin, Columbus, Ohio

What is the best part of what you do every day?

Being able to walk into the ballroom and see hundreds of people eating the food that you and the crew have been working on for days, “smiling faces, empty plates” I like to call it. Also being able to learn new things every single day, there is always someone or something that can offer insight in doing things in a new and exciting way, or simply gaining a new piece of knowledge in this wide world of culinary.

Can you tell us of one of your crazy experiences in the industry?

Working with my mentors on the Regional Academy dinner this past year was truly and amazing experience for me. Looking back at all they had taught me over the years, then seeing the caliber of food and service that we delivered that evening was just incredible, not an evening I believe I will ever forget.

When you are off where do you like to dine?

Honestly after working all day I’m pretty happy with a relaxed atmosphere for dinner like Roosters, good wings and great service. But, if I’m looking to get an eye on the industry trends or head out for a special occasion in life I would suggest the Guild House in the Short North.

What’s the best advice you can offer a colleague or student in the industry?

Treat the career and life as a juggle “some days you need to be at work, and some days you need to be at home”. If you and your significant other can find some piece in knowing that some weeks are going to be harder than others and take advantage of your slow times at work to spend at home, you should end up having a pretty happy and successful go at it. Alternatively, if you expect to be off at 4 o’ clock every day, you can almost guarantee those are the days when everything is going to go wrong…

How long have you been associated with the Columbus Chapter ACF?

I have been associated with the chapter as much as possible since high school I can still remember that first Calm bake that I helped with so many years ago, and how it opened my eyes to all these chefs working together to make it happen, I’ve been supportive of the chapter ever since.

What is a fun fact that someone might not know about you?

I like to play the part of a solider in Civil War reenactments when I can spare the time.