Chef Matthew Levin – Square Peg, PA

Matthew Levin is an American celebrity chef based in Philadelphia. He was the executive chef at Lacroix in the famed Rittenhouse Hotel until 2008. From 2010 to 2011, he was the chef at Adsum, a Queen Village bistro where he gained notoriety for dishes including Tastykake sliders and his Four Loco dinner. In March 2012, along with Cuba Libre owners Barry Gutin and Larry Cohen, he will take over as chef and co-owner of Square Peg, at the former location of Marathon Grill at 10th and Walnut St.

Matthew stopped by Korin and we were lucky to ask him a few questions.
Check out his Q&A!

1. How did you know you wanted to be a chef?
– Ever since I can remember. When I was about 5 years old my parents will always take me out to eat. We would dine at high-end restaurants, but since I was very young I wouldn’t care for such dinning. I would end up playing in the lobby or by the kitchen watching the chef cook. Some of the chef would even feed me. It was nice just watching them.

2. Where did you start?
– I attended the Syracuse University on a lacrosse scholarship studying business. Then when I was around 20 years old I decided to study at the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

3. How did you know you wanted to become a chef?
– I wasn’t interested in my father’s business, manufacture of ladies swimwear. Since I have been playing with food in the kitchen since I was 15, I really enjoyed cooking. I currently have a restaurant in Philadelphia, Square Peg.

4. What is your favorite knife and why?
– My favorite knife is the Nenox white Corian handle Yo-Deba. It is a great knife for chicken and even vegetables.

5. What was your first knife?
– My first knife was this Wusthof Santoku knife that I used back in the CIA. I used it so much that it’s beaten down.

6. What’s your favorite restaurant (not the one you work at) and what is your favorite dish?
– I like Barrio Chino, it is located on Broome Street in NYC. It is an authentic Mexican and Chinese fusion cuisine restaurant. They have a different menu written on beer cardboard boxes everyday.

7. What’s your favorite dish to prepare for yourself?
– I like making fried chicken using AP flour, corn starch, garlic, onion and pickle juice.

8. Whats next?
– Opening a restaurant in New York City is on my bucket list. It would be a restaurant competing with the best, serving high-quality food yet casual dining.