We had the chance to interview Chef Matthew Tivy of NYC’s Cafe Du Soleil, a Provencal French Bistro known for its slow cooked food and warm atmosphere. Chef Tivy has been attracting the loyalty of foodies and gourmands since his days at the Plaza Athenee Hotel, Maurice, QV, Canal Bar, Man Ray and La Cremaillere. If you have tasted the incredible Mussels at Cafe Du Soleil, you know there is love behind his dishes. Want to know where the love originates, then read on…
FriendsEAT: Did you grow up cooking?
Chef Matthew Tivy: Yes, I started cooking at age 10. I have always had a big appetite and so about that age I wanted to learn how to make my mother’s dishes that I loved to eat. It wasn’t fancy – good home cooked meals with lots of vegetables from the garden in season.
FE: Who in your life has most influenced your cooking?
CMT: Mostly the professional Chefs I worked with when I first came to New York – Daniel Boulud, Jean Louis Palladin, and Joachim Splichal
FE: What made you decide to become a chef?
CMT: My desire to work with my hands combined with my love of food. Though I think that more important was the special praise, attention, and appreciation I garnered from cooking for others.
FE: What misconceptions do people have when coming into the field?
CMT: Underestimating the amount of time, effort, and dedication required to produce good food on a consistent basis.
FE: If you were to give a novice a tip, what would that be?
CMT: Expose yourself to as many diffeent flavors and cuisines as possible. If you want to go into the culinary field as a professional try working in a restaurant (even as an unpaid intern) before enrolling in that expensive cooking school!
FE: What are your three favorite cooking tools?
FE: What is the funniest thing to happen in your kitchen?
CMT: There is no laughing in my kitchen!!! Just kidding – probably the years working with my sous chef Warren Norstein at La Cremaillere. He used to be a radio DJ and could do basically any character voice you requested. We had some side-splitting moments but they would all fall under the “you had to be there” classification.
FE: Favorite Food to Cook With?
CMT: I don’t have one favorite food but rather a favorite way to prepare or eat manyu different foods. Among my favorites – Seared Sea Scallops, Capon Breast Poached in Cream, any Seared Foie Gras preparation.
FE: When you are home, what will we find you eating?
CMT: Take Out is heaven.
FE: And your favorite cookbook?
CMT: Hmm – there are many…. one of my early favorites is one that is out of print called The Cookbook Decoder by Arthur Grossman. It explains the hows and whys of cooking in an easy to understand manner. Wait… my absolute favorite is the one I haven’t written yet but hope to one day when I have the time.
FE: Is there a specific ettiquette in your kitchen that you pride yourself in?
CMT: Respect for others – easier said than done.
FE: If someone wanted to try your creations, where can they go?
CMT: Please see my blog for a collection of my recipes.
To taste Chef Tivy’s dishes, head to Cafe Du Soleil at 2723 Broadway, New York, NY 10025. Call ahead for resos (212)316-5000