Matt Wooster, New York Kitchen, Canandaigua
Life in the Finger Lakes magazine recently visited with Matt Wooster, a chef at New York Kitchen in Canandaigua.
LIFL: Where did you learn to cook?
Matt: I grew up watching my Nana cook – she was the true inspiration for me to get into cooking. During school I loved taking the home-economics classes where I could show off my skills in front of my classmates. I eventually fell so in love with cooking that I went to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and graduated with a degree in Food Service Hospitality Management. I was lucky enough during my time at RIT to do internships at some pretty cool restaurants in New York City, Cape Cod and South Florida.
How long have you been cooking? How did you get started?
My first cooking job was at the Crow’s Nest in Geneva, New York when I was 16 years old. To date I’ve been cooking professionally for over 30 years.
Was there any other profession you wanted to be before you became a chef?
A dolphin trainer … and no that is not a joke!
How long have you been at NY Kitchen?
I’ve been with the New York Kitchen team for 5 years.
What about the area inspires you?
First and foremost – the wine region is unbelievable, so much to choose from. I love the farms and quality of the local produce that we can get throughout the year – strawberries and sweet corn are two of my local favorites.
What do you like best about your job?
I love interacting with people. My favorite thing to do is lead the youth camps we put on every summer. Those kids are so excited to be here and there is no shortage of fun when they are in our kitchens.
Do you have a “secret ingredient” that you like to put in the food you prepare?
Seneca Salt from Seneca Salt Co. is my secret weapon – it goes into almost every dish I prepare.
What is NY Kitchen all about?
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to educate, engage and excite our guests about the incredible craft beverage, agriculture and culinary industries of New York State. We drive forward our mission in our hands-on cooking and craft beverage pairing classes, in our 100% New York State Tasting Room, upstairs in our farm-to-table style restaurant and bar as well as in our many private and public events.
What do customers say about it?
Our customers say that we are one of the most unique places they have ever visited – which is something we strive for! We are a place where locals and tourists alike can taste their way through our great state, all under one roof.
5 chicken breasts, 6 ounces each, pounded into cutlets ¼ inch thick
1 cup flour
½ cup sherry
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons lemon zest
¼ cup parsley, chopped
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons corn starch combined with
2 tablespoons of water for the slurry
1. Pound the chicken breasts into cutlets.
2. Season flour with ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper.
3. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour and shake off excess.
4. Beat the eggs.
5. Dip the floured chicken in the egg, taking care to coat completely.
6. Dredge the chicken in seasoned flour again.
7. Sear the chicken in oil for about 3 minutes on each side.
8. Remove the excess oil from the sauté pan, add the sherry and the chicken stock, reduce by half.
9. Thicken the mixture with the slurry and add the lemon zest.
10. Continue to simmer on low heat 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked completely, internal temperature should reach 165F using a temperature probe.
11. Serve at once with your choice of rice or potato.