For more information:
Morgan Dyches or Emily Connolly
Melissa Libby & Associates
SOUTHERN PROPER HOSPITALITY WELCOMES MATTHEW RIDGWAY AS
EXECUTIVE CHEF OF GYPSY KITCHEN AND THE SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN
Industry and Atlanta Veteran Makes Triumphant Return to Helm Dual Kitchens
ATLANTA (June 1, 2015) – After a national search for the dual role of executive chef for Gypsy Kitchen and The Southern Gentleman, the team at Southern Proper Hospitality has selected someone who is familiar with Atlanta and happy to be coming back. Chef Matthew Ridgway, who has worked as chef de partie under chef Joel Antunes at JOËL and served as sous chef of Pricci and Veni Vidi Vici, will take over the kitchens in June.
Ridgway left Atlanta to help re-open New York’s famous Oak Room as chef de cuisine with Antunes and went on to create his own establishments in the food world. Most recently owner and chef of acclaimed restaurant The Pass, Ridgway is also the charcuterie mastermind behind Porcsalt, a small but thriving venture he created to produce local, artisanal products from pasture-raised duck and pork. He counts several noteworthy New York City restaurants among his clients, providing red wine-cured bacon to Café Boulud and duck prosciutto to Le Bernardin, for example.
“Matthew eats, sleeps and breathes food,” says Southern Proper Hospitality chief operating officer Guido Piccinni. “With his clean, simple style of cooking and vast understanding of different techniques and cultures, he was a natural choice for us. Not only has he been trained by some of the best in the business, he understands our passion for teamwork and creating memorable guest experiences that transform first-timers into returning patrons.”
After training at Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island, Ridgway went on to be mentored by chef Jean-Marie Lacroix at The Fountain Room in Philadelphia's Four Seasons Hotel. Lacroix then offered him the posts of chef de cuisine and chef de restaurant at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse in Philadelphia, and later sent Ridgway to hone his skills at George V, a Michelin three-star restaurant in Paris, and Le Relais Sainte Victoire in Aix-en Provence, France.
“It’s exciting to come back to this city that has become such a great destination for food,” Ridgway says. “I love the people and the ingredients in the South, as well as the longer growing season. I’m also looking forward to getting back to a very congenial community of chefs who are so supportive of each other.”
Ridgway has two priorities in his new role - putting his touch on the menus and helping his kitchen team rise to their highest potential. “What’s most gratifying to me is to be able to give back what I’ve learned,” he says. “Oftentimes, the culinary world values stardom more than teamwork, but for me, teaching and raising the level of each member of the kitchen team is vitally important. Food is food at the end of the day. If you have a great story and you have heart, it’s hard to go wrong.”
About Southern Proper Hospitality
Southern Proper Hospitality is an entrepreneurial organization that values innovation, creativity and attention to detail. The mission of the team of industry leading professionals is to help shape the cultural fabric of Atlanta. Southern Proper provides a short term escape for diners by creating unique and distinct dining experiences that appeal to customers’ sense of adventure. Each restaurant offers a high energy, fun and entertaining atmosphere coupled with genuinely hospitable service and exceptional, high quality food.