Interview with Chef Mathew Molloy, Artistry on The Green
|Image: Chef Mathew Molloy at Artistry on the Green (BostonCommon Magazine)
Chef Mathew Molloy of Artistry on the Green in Lexington Massachusetts has his hands full.
From being Head Chef at local favourite restaurant attached to luxury inn, Inn at Hastings on the Park to raising to little girls with completely different palates, the chef makes cooking look effortless.
With a stellar resume of working at Boston favourite Lumiere under the guidance of restauranteur Michel Leviton, the Godfather and advocate of the farm-to-table movement, having a talented chef in small town Lexington is a blessing for hungry locals.
For breakfast, fresh pastries are made by a pop-in French pastry chef, as well as fluffy pancakes and local produce from near-by farms, like Wilson’s farm just down the road.
For dinner, Chef Mathew brings a bit of French provincial living to the traditional city where the American revolutionary war took place.
But don’t expect boring cassoulets, New England cuisine still controls the menu with beautiful French accents flowing through the menu for those hankering for a slice of France.
We take 5 with our Chef of the Week: Chef Mathew Molloy
For the delicious and personal favourite Pate Rabbit Campagne from Chef Malloy, Click here for the Exclusive RECIPE on My Little SoHo Kitchen
|Image: Andy Ryan for Inn at Hastings Park
1. How does it feel to be working in a small town like Lexington after a huge career start in big city and big name restaurants?
Actually, the bulk of my experience is in suburban restaurants. Lexington is technically a small town, but home to many professionals who work in the Greater Boston/Cambridge area. We provide them the quality of food that they are used to in town, closer to home and with better parking situations etc. In addition, our Inn guests come from different parts of the country and from around the globe, so we like to be able to provide them with a dining experience that meets or exceeds their expectations. We hope that we are providing a level of food and service that is good as any that our guests would find in any major city.
2. What are your inspirations in the kitchen?
I think any chef draws from a variety of inspirations when designing dishes and menus. First and foremost, we try to cook with the seasons, using fruits, vegetables, and meats/poultry/fish that are sourced close to Lexington. Not only is this the more environmentally friendly, it supports local producers, but I have found that fresh food tastes better the less it has to travel. That being said, I am inspired by the change of the seasons, what might be available from one of our farmers or what I saw at the farmer’s market last week. This is how we embrace our interpretation of “New England Cuisine,” by using raw ingredients from the surrounding areas. In addition, chefs including myself draw from childhood memories, co-workers, reading/research, dining out, etc etc. We can be inspired from a meal, reading an article in a travel magazine, or a trip to Chinatown. It is then my job to try to filter these outside inspirations through the lens of what makes sense to serve at a place like Artistry on The Green.
3. What are your best tips for making terrines?
My biggest advise for any kind of charcuterie would be to start with the best quality meats you can afford. The better the raw ingredients, the better the final product. In addition, invest in a quality scale (with gram measurements), and follow the recipe exactly. Precise amounts of seasonings are used to create a consistent final product. With time and experience, you will learn how to adjust those to fit your taste.
4. What questions should a novice cook as their butcher when making terrines or home-made sausages?
I can’t think of any questions that one might ask the butcher other than just asking for the freshest cuts of meat for whatever recipe they are using.
5. What’s more challenging? Cooking for your kids or a full-house at the Inn?
They both present challenges for sure! I have one daughter who will eat nearly anything from spinach, asparagus, and broccoli to Dim Sum in Chinatown. The other daughter ( a twin mind you) is on the other end of the spectrum, eating the typical “kid food” like mac and cheese, chicken tenders, and hot dogs. The challenge is finding a middle ground without becoming a short order cook. Obviously a full restaurant presents different challenges complete with a seemingly never ending list of dietary restrictions and personal preferences. In the end, my job as a chef is to make people happy, and to help create enjoyable dining experiences. That certainly spills over to home- my daughters tell me I’m the best “cooker” in the whole world, so sometimes its a win even if they do have to eat their broccoli…
6. What’s your favourite Massachusetts ingredient?
This is a tough question! I do not think that I have just one answer. One of my favorite times of year is the fall. I think that some of this kind of food is what people associate with Massachusetts/New England: winter squashes, sage, savory roasted meats and poultry, and for a few weeks until we get a frost we still have sweet corn, the end of tomato season, etc- Its a great time of year with the autumn foliage, crisp nights and great local produce. Also, growing up in Missouri, I definitely appreciate the fact that I can get ridiculously fresh seafood from my purveyors here in Massachusetts, sometimes just hours out of the water. Growing up in Missouri, I think people think that I was surrounded by farmland, which in some parts is true. However the bulk of this is factory farming for corn and soybeans, etc. I definitely appreciate the number of smaller, family farms just a few miles from Lexington.
|Image: Inn at Hastings Park, Andy Ryan Photography