By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert
Matfer Bourgeat cooked up a fun question and answer contest with some great prizes to celebrate its 200th anniversary. To honor the company’s bicentennial birthday, chefs around the country were asked why they trusted Matfer products and how they used them. The diverse responses were phenomenal and Matfer was most appreciative of the time and effort each chef took on their application. Every applicant had a terrific story to share and choosing the top three was no easy task. The added flavor and flair to the submissions from Grande Prize Winner Liz Thompson, 2nd Place winner Andrew Miller and 3rd Place Winner Barron Hamilton caught our judges’ attention to declare them the winning recipients.
What moved Matfer most was what we heard once the contest was over and what Grande Prize Winner Liz Thompson Sutton did with most of her prize winnings. Take a look below to see why. Enjoy and happy cooking!
GRANDE PRIZE WINNER: Pastry Chef Liz Thompson Sutton, Los Angeles, California
As a culinary professional who teaches pastry, Liz loves going through the Matfer Bourgeat catalogue putting together her wish list of items. In her inspiring Matfer story, she told how “chocolate was an area that I was never totally trained in but always fascinated by.”
“When I went to my first Matfer Bourgeat Warehouse Sale last year and saw all of the chocolate molds and supplies that were affordable, I went crazy and bought a lot of things! They sat for a while and then I was asked to teach a chocolate class at work so I got busy using all of the things I purchased. I self-taught myself all about tempering and went on to make beautiful hand crafted chocolates. Coincidentally soon afterwards I was asked to participate with other chefs in a restaurant show in China and I ended up demonstrating chocolate. Thank you Matfer Bourgeat for giving me the opportunity to learn to work with chocolate because of all of your fantastic items.”
As the winner, Liz received 200 Matfer Bourgeat items worth $5,750. She chose to keep the ones that worked for her professionally, especially the many different kinds of Matfer pastry tips.
But what makes her win so inspiring is that Liz then paid her joy and appreciation for food and preparation forward by personally donating many of the Matfer Bourgeat items that were more suitable for savory use to a food bank where she volunteers called MEND. They cook for and feed over 30,000 people a month. Click here for more information on MEND.
Liz also gifted some specialty items to dear friend Executive Chef Claud Beltran (See our July Chef’s Spotlight) who just opened Bacchus Kitchen, a new restaurant in Pasadena, California.
2ND PRIZE WINNER: Chef Andrew Miller, Seattle, Washington
“My favorite Matfer story takes me back to my early cooking days in Portland, OR. I was a line cook at Atwater's in 1995. My buddy Don was in the purchasing department and brought me a Matfer Bourgeat spatula. Don was so excited and leaned into me to make the point that this was a high-end professional small ware. Don hit the prep table repeatedly with the grey spatula exclaiming that it would last forever. I’m not sure what happened to Don, but my spatula has been with me ever since with my knife kit. And it has been with me and used in many different kitchens in various countries. When I introduce Matfer products to others, they are impressed. It always reminds of the time when Don gave me my first Matfer Bourgeat product—that great spatula.”
3RD PRIZE WINNDER: Chef Barron Hamilton, Austin, Texas
“I have always had a passion for copper cookware from France. I wanted the best copper cookware I could get, and that is indeed what I got. The first time I was able to actually feel the magnificent weight of my Matfer Bourgeat copper pots and pans with iron handles, to see the gleam of their beautiful rosy copper, and to be forced to squint as the light beamed from the highly polished stainless steel interior, was a moment that will always stay with me. The excitement of putting the smallest of my Matfer Bourgeat pans on the burner of my little apartment stove and to perfectly saute some shallots is one of those moments I savor. To be able to serve a gorgeous Coq au Vin, or Daube de Boeuf in the large Rondeau that was now mine was a true triumph as an amateur home cook who would soon embark on a professional career. These pieces of culinary art will outlast me, and whoever continues to use them long after I am gone, will, no doubt, get the same pleasure.”
Liz’s generosity made a huge impression on the Matfer team. Community outreach to give back and make a difference so mirrors our company philosophy that we then sent MEND additional Matfer products to use in their food bank kitchens. It was all in all a winning combination with a very happy ending.