Hugo Matheson, chef at The Kitchen in Boulder, said he believes in the community table—both as a physical object around which his staff and customers break bread and as a metaphor for his philosophy as a chef. He believes we are all connected to the chain of food, which begins at the farm and ends, not with the plate, but with the people eating.
Yellow Scene: What is your personal food philosophy as a chef? How does local food play into that?
Hugo Matheson: Being connected to the chain of food, understanding where food comes from and the consequences of eating it.
YS: What local produce do you look forward to the most each year?
HM: Fava beans and peas. They’re a sign of spring and remind me of childhood.
YS: How has seasonal cooking colored or shaped your menus this year?
HM: It’s been a late growing season due to a longer winter and cooler temperatures.
YS: Winter is always a challenging season for locavores; how do you work around growing restrictions with our climate?
HM: We try to use a lot of root vegetables that can be stored in a root cellar and used throughout the winter. We also use a lot of beans and wheat in the winter.
YS: Your Community Night project seems to focus on connecting people with their food community; can you elaborate on how and why you decided to host a Community Night and what you hope your guests take away from it?
HM: Community Night was an idea that grew out of The Kitchen’s family meal. Each day, we serve a family style meal to our staff at our community table at 3pm and 10:30pm. When we first opened, many of our guests commented about how much fun it looked and wished they could join. We created Community Night as an opportunity for the community to come together around the table to share good food and good company—perhaps meet a few new people. We also serve a Family Dinner each night. Family Dinner is the Chef’s four-course selection served family style. Rather than each person ordering individual starters and entrees, Family Dinner is an opportunity for a group of people to share a meal at The Kitchen in the same way as they would at home.
YS: Give us a little background on you. How did you get to where you are today?
HM: I’m English. I grew up just outside Cambridge. I’ve always enjoyed the community around food. I believe in doing the things you enjoy.
Hugo Matheson has a long list of local farmers, ranchers and purveyors that help make his menus possible, everything from Bhakti Chai to Isabelle Farms to John Long’s scrumptious pigs.
Altan Alma Organic Farm
The most impressive quality about Altan Alma Organic Farm is the owner’s entrepreneurial spirit. First an organic farm on South Boulder Road. Then a market in Louisville, and now Karim Amirfathi he said he hopes to develop a food-focused, European-inspired shopping village in the city’s downtown. ezsprout.net