The Kitchen Spy: West Bridge’s Matthew Gaudet Shows Us His Cambridge Home
Welcome to The Kitchen Spy, where we visit local chefs’ home kitchens, and force them to open up their fridge, drawers, and cabinets.
While Matthew Gaudet is firmly at the helm of the kitchen at his Kendall Square restaurant West Bridge—his skill at which just earned him a place in this year’s Best New Chefs issue of Food & Wine—it’s his wife, Miranda, who reigns over the stove at the couple’s Huron Village home. “It is really her kitchen,” Gaudet says. “If anything, I help her cook a couple of things, but she cooks all the time.” Before heading to Cambridge, the couple lived in a brownstone in the South End. “Our spice was a tight 600 sq. ft., and we have a 100-pound dog,” Gaudet says.
So, they upgraded to a house in Cambridge, complete with a much-larger kitchen. It wasn’t a stress-free transition, though. “We moved in June 2012—a couple weeks after we opened West Bridge,” Gaudet says. “If you want any advice at all, it’s not a good idea. We got married the week after we signed the lease—we threw it all in at once. I signed the lease, got married in October, opened in May, and moved in the first week of June. Thrilling!” Luckily, everything worked out. And now that their belongings—a mix of the practical, the collectible, and the essential (Knob Creek bourbon, we’re looking at you)—have some room to breathe, the Gaudets gave us a tour of their new digs.
Clockwise, from left: 1. Gaudet’s wife Miranda keeps command of the kitchen at home, and the chef says she specializes in lots of vegetarian-focused items, soups, and stews. 2. Just a snippet of the couple’s magnet collection. “We get them as gifts,” Gaudet explains. 3. A vintage postcard (look closely: it says West Boston Bridge, get it?!) that Gaudet’s cousin found at an antique shop on the Cape. “He gave it to me during construction,” Gaudet says.
Top: The couple’s cooking essentials, purchased from the nearby food mecca that is Formaggio Kitchen. There’s olive oil, white pepper, black pepper, and kosher salt (in the salt pig). Plus: “There’s always Maldon hanging around,” Gaudet says. “We definitely get vinegars and spices [from Formaggio]. Whenever we need something on short notice, we will just get meat and cheese there. We moved from one [location] to the other. I can’t live without it”
Bottom: On the windowsill, Miranda grows basil and rosemary.
Clockwise, from top left: 1. The couple’s nightcap go-to’s are red wine (Miranda) and Knob Creek bourbon (Gaudet). 2. Vintage tumblers that were a gift from Gaudet’s grandmother. 3. A peek into the couple’s glassware cabinet. The blue flutes (top, right) were an antique market find.
1. Gaudet stores a slew of cooking and food-related tomes on the shelves in his home. “I’m usually either reading a book or one of these travel blog dudes: A Life Worth Eating, Ulterior Epicure, Chuck Eats. I just want to see where I wouldn’t mind being or eating,” Gaudet explains. “As far as recipes go, it’s more of escapism. Every once in a while it triggers an ingredient I might have forgotten.” On top of the shelf are a pair of custom Adidas Stan Smiths, a wedding-day gift from Miranda, bearing the New York skyline (Gaudet grew up in Sudbury, but spent 8 1/2 years in New York. “I kind of developed who I was there,” he says.).
2. His essentials? Besides Escoffier, he also recommends that cooks (and food enthusiasts) get a schooling via Ma Gastronomie by Fernand Point, The Art of Cooking with Vegetables by Alain Passard, and Reflections on Culinary Artistry by Pierre Gagnaire. “Those are the kind to get your feet wet, to give you the basis,” Gaudet says. “Reading the words in Ma Gastronomie is a great start—it’s what gets you to want to get up and go back to work the next day.”
3. Gaudet’s latest means of escapism, from top: Astrance: A Cook’s Book; Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook (“I worked there years ago, before [current chef] Daniel Humm”); Noma; Mugaritz (“I ate there years ago, it was great. I cooked for Andoni Aduriz in New York, at 71 Clinton.”); Too Many Chiefs, Only One Indian (“[Chef/owner Sat Bains] is this big, bald, hulky dude. But his food is dainty.”); Origins (“Attica [in Australia] is a destination that I’ve wanted to go to for a while. Ben Shewry’s food has been really cool for years, and it’s cool to see him getting the attention that he deserves.”
Valued foodstuffs, on very opposite ends of the culinary spectrum. Left: Banyuls vinegar and dried black olives from Michel Bras in France. “We went there on our honeymoon,” Gaudet says. “We use the banyuls to finish salads and soups, and it goes great with cheese. I’ve used the dried olives a couple of times when cooking at home, to finish fish. At West Bridge, I make my own olive crumble, and we use plenty of banyuls.” Right: Whole Foods cereal bars. “That’s my new drive to work addiction. They are just fruity and good,” Gaudet says.
Spoils from France, clockwise from top left: 1. Canned sorrel sauce and ratatouille. 2. A selection of spices from Epices Roellinger, which are sold in affiliation with the Michelin-starred restaurant Les Maisons de Bricourt. “[Olivier Roellinger] develops all of these particular spice blends according to the world around him. The dishes in the restaurant are based on the spice mixes,” Gaudet explains. “I think I spent $300 on spices. Some of them I still use, and get shipped over [from France].” 3. Cornichon paste. “We use that with smoked salmon and eggs,” Gaudet says. 4. Various jarred pates and terrines.
And now, we invade the fridge. From left: 1. “I’m a big sriracha guy, and Miranda likes the Frank’s Red Hot,” Gaudet says. The other hot sauce bottle is Susi’s, which Gaudet brought back from a trip to Antigua. 2. On the top shelf are jars of pickled peppers and corn from Gaudet’s sous chef at West Bridge, Kyle Andersen. As for the true fridge staples: “The cottage cheese on the top shelf, the hummus on the next shelf, and the beer on the bottom shelf,” Gaudet says. 3. Along with Deep Eddy vodka (courtesy of West Bridge bar manager Josh Taylor) and a rotating tub of Ben & Jerry’s (in here, Chubby Hubby), there’s a big bag of lamb bones, some frozen stews, and frozen kale and spinach puree (for juices/smoothies) in the freezer.
Clockwise from left: 1. Two of Gaudet’s prized knives. At left, a Nenox that was given to Gaudet as a gift from his boss when he became chef at a now-defunct Brooklyn restaurant. At right, a Misono UX10 that he bought for himself as a gift when he worked as sous-chef at Aquavit in Manhattan. Believe it or not, “the UX10 was the same size as the Nenox at one point,” according to Gaudet. “It was the only knife I used for two years at Aquavit.”
2. The ornate knife is a Bedouin ceremony knife that the couple picked up on a trip to Jordan. “It’s dull as can be, but it’s beautiful,” Gaudet says. 2-3. The other two knives (one straight, one hooked) are Turkish, and a gift from Gaudet’s mother. “Those we do use, for herbs and cleaning fruit,” he says.
Clockwise from left: 1. Gaudet’s favorite saucepans come from Danish cookware company Scanpan. “They conduct heat well, and the surface area is really good. Ergonomically, they are great,” he says. 2. An hors d’oeuvres platter that the couple uses for entertaining. 3. A copper pot, which Miranda uses for whipping egg whites and making meringues.
Say hello to the third member of the family, a 100-pound black lab named Cash. “He and I have chips together,” Gaudet says. “I always give him the first one and the last one.”
Above, a bowl of saffron from a trip to Dubai (yes, they are seriously well-traveled). “That one, we bought off of a shelf. There were other spices that we bought at the souk,” Gaudet says. “The whole experience of digging through the souk was crazy.”
Left: Behind the plump chicken is a framed copy of Devra First’s 3 1/2 star-review of West Bridge for the Globe. “Devra really got what we were doing and validated everything,” Gaudet says. “It really changed the tide of the restaurant. It was a baby, and the bar was doing great. And this was when all the foodies started coming. It was very humbling, and it was great for the staff.” Right: No, this isn’t a tiny wall— the fork and spoon are just enormous. “That’s from my mother in law,” Gaudet says. “She has a condo in Montana, and one day she called us up and said, ‘Go to this address at this specific time.’ It was Pier One imports in Brookline. She had bought them and had them shipped.”
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