Cooking with zest

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Mar 27, 2013 - 01:45 PM

Photo: Matthew Richardson ladles sauce onto his Virginia meatballs at last month’s Zest Fest in Richmond. He has cooked in some of the top kitchens in Virginia and now is executive chef at the Hilton Garden Inn in Richmond...the same building where he visited the Miller and Rhoads Santa Claus as a boy. Photo by Elsa Verbyla

Matthew Richardson ladles sauce onto his Virginia meatballs at last month’s Zest Fest in Richmond. He has cooked in some of the top kitchens in Virginia and now is executive chef at the Hilton Garden Inn in Richmond...the same building where he visited the Miller and Rhoads Santa Claus as a boy. Photo by Elsa Verbyla

Zest Fest was a gala evening of dining, silent auction and live auction held last month in Richmond. The purpose of this annual event is to make it possible for FeedMore’s Central Virginia Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, and Community Kitchens, which provide thousands of meals and vital services for those in need, to continue their good works.

Those attending sampled foods prepared by a number of Richmond area chefs, and right there among those talented cooks, who so graciously shared their time and cooking abilities, was our Mathews born and raised Matthew Richardson.

Matthew began his successful career when a youngster who was always interested in foods. "My mother and grandmother were both great cooks, so I grew up with good cooking. That was a guide for me. In my early years I was always watching the cooking shows on TV. Since I have been in the professional culinary field, there have been those great cooks who also guided me along the way."

Matthew began his career by working at Seawell’s Ordinary while in school. With that experience he realized he wanted to continue his culinary education and did so by apprenticing at The Halfway House in Chester. From there it was on to the prestigious Commonwealth Club in Richmond, all the while learning everything he could about his chosen profession. Within one year of being with the Commonwealth Club, Matthew was invited to accept the position of executive chef at The Track, a Carytown bistro and another of Richmond’s famous restaurants. During his tenure there, Style Weekly lauded it one of Richmond’s top ten restaurants.