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Best New Chefs

Matthew Accarrino Enjoys Bourbon and Very Old Pumpkins

Best New Chef 2014 Matthew Accarrino

Best New Chef 2014 Matthew Accarrino Photo © William Hereford

Matthew Accarrino of SPQR in San Francisco is one of Food & Wine's amazing 2014 Best New Chefs. Here, he reveals his current obsessions.


Growing up, I wanted to be a pro cyclist. Then I broke my leg and doctors discovered a tumor. I stayed home for a year; I watched a lot of Jacques Pépin and Julia Child and got into cooking. But I still bike. I ride up Mt. Veeder in Napa Valley on my Wilier, early in the morning. You bike through the thick fog to the sunny top, then fly down, back into the mist.

Bourbon & Rye

I’ve amassed a collection of bourbon and rye. We’ve developed a cocktail tradition at my Napa Valley garden: When it starts to get dark and we have to stop working, we go up on a porch and sit back with a version of a Negroni made with rye or bourbon.

Experimenting with Vegetables

My 1 1/4-acre garden is part of Jacobsen Orchards in Yountville, California. When I’m not at SPQR, I work there with the original gardener from The French Laundry. I play with fruits and vegetables at various stages of their ripeness. Last year, I turned old, starchy pumpkins into pumpkin bottarga.

Related: Best New Chefs: 25 Years of Recipes
Napa Travel Guide
F&W's Ultimate Guide to Cooking with Vegetables

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