Matthew Kirkley’s first restaurant job was working as a busboy atthe Melting Pot fondue chain’s outlet in Baltimore. From there he moved into the kitchen and then on to culinary school. He quickly discovered that seafood – not gooey pots of cheese – was his forte, so after graduation he began his career at Philadelphia’s Striped Bass. Since then, he has manned the stoves at some of Chicago’s and Las Vegas’ most respected establishments, including NoMI,Four Seasons Chicago, RIA at the Elysian Hotel and Joël Robuchon at the Mansion at MGM Grand.
Kirkley was recently appointed executive chef at Chicago’s celebrated L2O, which marks his second time working at the Michelin-starred restaurant; he helped open it in 2008. He took a few minutes to chat with us about his longstanding love of spatulas, butter and punk rock.