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New Columbus Chefs: Matt Owens

Walker Evans Walker Evans New Columbus Chefs: Matt Owens
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Over the next few weeks, Columbus Underground is taking a look at some of the amazing young talent in the kitchens of your favorite local restaurants, food trucks and other dining establishments in the relaunch of our series known as “New Columbus Chefs“.

Artisan pizza has been all the range in Columbus over the past few years with a half-dozen new restaurants specializing in wood-oven pies have opened throughout the city. One of the shining stars of that scene is Harvest Pizzeria praised for both its character-rich ambiance and the incredibly tasty pizzas served up by Head Chef Matt Owens.

Chef Matt Owens. Photo by Chris Walker Photography.

Name: Matt Owens
Age: 29
Current Job: Head Chef, Harvest Pizzeria

Can you tell us about your training/educational experience?

I went to culinary school at New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont. Living in Vermont informed and developed my attitudes and opinions toward local, seasonal, and sustainable food sources.

Can you tell us about your professional kitchen experience?

I spent time in kitchens in Dayton, Vermont, and Western Massachusetts before moving back to Columbus where I spent a few years with Whole Foods and at Dublin Methodist Hospital, running the kitchen and catering department.

What is your favorite cuisine to cook?

I go through phases.

What is your favorite cuisine to eat?

All of them.

What one kitchen utensil/tool could you never live without?

My hands. If not for high heat, the need for conductivity, and the desire to eat vegetables in bite-sized, uniform cubes, your hands are the only tools you really need in a kitchen.

What’s your favorite cookbook?

I have probably used Wayne Glissen’s Professional Baking more than any other cookbook in my career.

What is your favorite Columbus restaurant (besides your own)?

Right now, probably Buckeye Pho because its awesome and close to my home.

Who are your inspirational figures in the culinary world?

Alton Brown really helped me understand why things happen when cooking. Once you understand why something happens, you can experiment with new recipes and techniques with confidence. Also, Saint Thomas Keller, Alice Waters, and the first guy to figure out that eating raw oysters won’t kill you.

What is your dream job?

Owner, Cincinnati Reds

What do you think about the culinary scene in Columbus?

I love that I spent a solid 15 minutes trying to decide on a favorite restaurant.

What do you think about the “foodie” scene in Columbus?

Any scene that supports local businesses seems alright to me.

Tell us one food-related fact about yourself that few people know.

I think birthday pie should replace birthday cake in most social situations.

To sample some of Chef Matt Owens’ cuisine, head to www.harvestpizzeria.com.

Photo by Chris Walker Photography.

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  • FSonicSmith

    Walker, sir, being young and cool (relative to me), don’t you know that “foodie” is, uh, not a cool word to use about anybody or anything. It implies that those of us who appreciate good food are somehow elevated to some higher status or level of sophistication. It was dumb name from the outset. Is a somm or mixologist a “drinkie”.

  • I am completely aware that “foodie” is divisive word. ;)

    Marcus had an interesting take on it:


  • FSonicSmith

    Yeah, now that I think about it, reading his rebuff of your use of that word in that most excellent interview probably prompted me to say something more than any pre-existing hatred of that term. But i did previously hate “foodie” and “tasty” too. Just like my hatred of sliders, truffle oil, and the dreaded sauce “push” (smear) as just old, tired, and boring.

  • Personally, I’m not a big fan of the term either, though I think a lot of people still identify with it. And everyone knows what it means, regardless of whether or not they identify with it. ;)

  • TotallyNotMattOwens

    My, what a handsome fellow.

  • FSonicSmith

    Sorry to go off-topic, but the dreaded sauce/puree push/smear on the plate reminds me of skid marks in the porecelain bowl.

  • scosan

    not being a foodie, whats amazing to me about Harvest is they take the simplest ingredients and make them work perfectly. Nothing over the top. Just perfectly prepared. That is a skill worth noting. Glad you would bring attention the head chef. Great work Matt Owens.

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