My F&W
quick save (...)

Matthew Kirkley

Chef Matthew Kirkley
Photo © Anjali Pinto

Restaurant: L2O (Read a review)

Location: Chicago

Why He's Amazing: Because he translates his training with haute cooking titans like Paris chef Yannick Alléno into opulent yet playful dishes.

Culinary School: The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)

Background: NoMI, One Sixty Blue, Ria (Chicago); Joël Robuchon at the Mansion (Las Vegas)

Quintessential Dish: Bouillabaisse of scorpion fish, daurade, clams, fennel and tomato confit

Early Food Sourcing: Kirkley grew up in Baltimore and often went crabbing with his father from docks on the Chesapeake Bay. "Chicken necks are the traditional bait."

Extreme Measures: For the freshest seafood possible, Kirkley had a 200-gallon aquarium installed at L2O. Each of the tank's two chambers has a different salinity level, oxygen content and temperature, one simulating the English Channel, the other closer to that of the California-Oregon coast.

Person He'd Like to Work with Some Day: Henry Rollins, the punk rock star turned spoken word artist and activist. "I'm a fan of strong personalities with a sense of conviction."

You might also like
The Dish
Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.

Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.

Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world's most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 19-21.