Chewing the Fat with Chef Matt Ward Myers
If you haven’t caught up with the new chef at The Garden Table, you should. Chef Matt Ward Myers has an open buying policy for his menu with local farmers: If you grow it, he’ll buy it. He then makes it his mission to show his customers how good this food can taste.
His menu is, in his own word, like a “chameleon,” and the patrons determine which of the day’s selections—jotted artfully on a chalkboard—survive and which ones don’t. His background is impressive, he is a bit of a bad boy and he cooks up one helluva meal.
Here are 20 things you might not know about Chef Matt Ward Myers, from the chef himself:
1. I am obsessed to a nerd level about edible mushrooms. I grow them on coffee grounds, troll about them on the Internet, hunt them and cook them.
2. I love cooks. When you become one you learn who you really are. Real pro cooks are the best people I’ve met.
3. I love gardeners. When you don’t say “farm” it means something more intimate.
4. I wish all of our jobs could be hobbies and our hobbies our jobs. Then again, I guess some people do get paid to drink beer and watch football.
5. I can flip coins off my knuckle. It’s a fall-back career.
6. Indiana is well known in Sweden for inventing red-eye gravy. If you’ve never had it, or scrapple, let me know.
7. I once cooked for the rapper Too Short, and Steve Perry from Journey, at the same time.
8. I am the worst fisherman alive.
9. My favorite meal growing up was cornmeal-fried morels with butter on white bread. It still might be.
10. I am working on a breakfast cereal named Shenanigrams.
11. I like beer. Look for events with us cooking from within the brew tanks of local brewers.
12. If you go to New York City eat at Roberta’s because that’s it. Also M. Wells. In San Francisco, go to Lazy Bear, Coi and Grand Lake Kitchen in Oakland (California).
13. If you spray dandelions with vinegar and bacon fat instead of Roundup they taste better.
14. I use kimchi and Colby cheese to make a thing I call “kimcheetos.”
15. I was the only American in my culinary school, and no one had ever tried ranch dressing. It sucked. I fixed that.
16. I grew up in Crawfordsville on my family farm. It is 100 years old and has one of the most amazing round Amish barns left in Indiana.
17. I moved from Indiana to Vancouver, British Columbia. The police there do DUI checkpoints on foot. You can just keep driving. Or at least I did.
18. My family farm has a big catfish pond. They are like pets.
19. New Yorkers never know where Indiana is. It’s fun to tell them it’s in different places.
20. After all this time in cities where no one says hi to each other, the genuine smile and handshake of Hoosiers is a great feeling. Thanks for having me back. Now let me cook for you.
Catch Matt daily at The Garden Table, 908 E. Westfield Blvd., Indianapolis, TheGardenTable.com.