New Columbus Chefs: Matt Owens
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.
Name: Matt Owens
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.