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Career Guide

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Download a CAREER GUIDE today and see what it's like to work in the culinary industry. 
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Culinary Central

Chef Matt Eversman Interview

February 5, 2013 Le Cordon Bleu Le Cordon Bleu, Chicago 0 Comments

Matt Eversman

Graduate: 2008, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago (formerly The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago)

Degree: Associate of Applied Science in Le Cordon Blue Culinary Arts

Current Position: Chef and partner/owner of OON Chicago

One of Chicago’s hottest chefs, Le Cordon Bleu alumni Matt Eversman, took the lessons from the black box exams to heart.

"It seemed that in every black box exam in culinary school I leaned toward Asian flavors and preparations," he said. "I guess I embraced that."

There’s no guessing when it comes to Chef Matt Eversman’s culinary creations. He has definitely embraced Southeast Asian cuisine, which helped him to get recognized by Time Out Chicago as the Break Out Chef of the Year in 2011 for his creative work at the Chicago restaurant Saigon Sisters.

But now, only a year later, Chef Eversman is taking a new set of Asian-inspired American cuisine and presenting it to all of Chicago at his own restaurant, OON (stands for Out of Nowhere).

"I want to give my guests a menu to celebrate over."

Chef Eversman grew up knowing what celebratory eating was all about. He can’t recall any major celebration where he wasn’t surrounded by his family and a constant flow of food.

He explained that his first jobs as a teenager were in restaurants and that continued through college. While an aerospace engineering student at Iowa State University, Chef Eversman worked on the hot line at Wallaby’s in Ames.

"This was a high stress, highly-demanding job, and I absolutely loved it."

Chef Eversman didn’t stay at Iowa State long enough to obtain a degree. He only stayed long enough to realize that culinary school was where he really belonged. He started school at The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (now known as Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago) in 2007 and never looked back.

"My time in culinary school greatly impacted my career because of the people I met," Chef Eversman said. "Many of the instructors changed the way I saw culinary arts and helped to direct my passions. Plus, I made some great friends. I still keep in touch with many of my fellow students and hope to work with some of these incredibly talented people one day."

Five years later and a new restaurant is born.

In the years since graduating from culinary school Chef Eversman has packed in a lot of kitchen time. As mentioned, he worked as a chef at May Street Market and Saigon Sisters during which time he received much attention from the Chicago media. He is now partnering with Tony Cournia to bring OON, a restaurant offering "contemporary American food influenced by Southeast Asian cuisine," to Chicago’s West Loop. The restaurant will open in February 2013.

When asked why he wanted to open his own restaurant he said, "Nobody can tell me what to cook. It’s all up to me."

But it’s more than having "his own restaurant to run exactly the way [he’d] like to see it." It all goes back to those early days when Chef Eversman enjoyed meals with family. He said, "I want to give my guests a menu to celebrate over."

While the restaurant is not yet open, he has quickly learned about the difficulties of being the chef and face of a restaurant.

As a chef, you need to accept challenges and success.

"There are the practical, administrative things that are challenging, but it’s also nerve-wracking to have the restaurant critiqued and know that I am being critiqued directly."

He went on to say that critique is a major part of working in the culinary field, but it should never be the main focus.

"The main focus is, and always will be, taking care of our guests and giving them an opportunity to share a special experience together."

OON Chicago will be located at 802 W. Randolph St. in Chicago. Learn more on the restaurant’s website, http://www.oonrestaurant.com , or Facebook page and Twitter page:
https://www.facebook.com/OONRestaurant
https://twitter.com/oonchicago

 

Matt Eversam

 

Career success will depend largely on the effort put into studies, job search efforts, experience and attitude. Le Cordon Bleu does not and cannot guarantee employment, and the experience of the alumni is not representative of all students.

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