Chef Q&A: Cedar Street Grill’s Matt Kay

The chef of this Dobbs Ferry restaurant talks about Kitchen Nightmares and New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.

Matt Kay 
Cedar Street Grill 
23 Cedar St, Dobbs Ferry
(914-674-0706; cedarstreetgrillny.com)

Five Items in my Home Refrigerator…Good cheese, multi-grain bread, an assortment of cold cuts, whole-grain mustard, and a bottle of wine. 

Favorite Cuisine…Mexican. The flavors are clean and the techniques are still authentic. Plus, any cuisine that uses hot peppers gets my vote.

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Last Book Read…Setting the Table by Danny Meyer. The book says a lot about proper hospitality functions and customer-service techniques. 

Favorite Place to Dine Out (other than the restaurant I’m at)…Sam’s Italian Restaurant in Dobbs Ferry. I’m not only guaranteed a great meal but I owe them my start. Sam’s was my first restaurant job when I was 15 years old. 

I Never Cook With…my brother Joe. He is my business partner and I trust him completely with the front-of-house operations, but we should never be in the same room with knives. 

Favorite TV Show…I’m a sucker for food reality TV, so it would be a toss-up between Bar Rescue and Kitchen Nightmares. I’m always amazed at how neglectful people can be about important aspects of the restaurant business. 

I Hate It When You’re Dining at a Restaurant and…your table is constantly interrupted by a server or manager. There are ways to check on a table without being disruptive to the meal. 

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What Waiters Should Never Do…Grab a glass by the rim. The golden rule in my restaurant is to always hold a glass by the stem

My Eating Disorder Is…I don’t deny myself food. Ever. 

The Most I’ve Paid for a Meal…I paid almost $60 for a Kobe burger with foie gras at Café Boulud. It truly was worth every penny. 

Most Famous Person I Ever Cooked for…New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte. 

My Biggest Superstition Is…Opening an umbrella inside—I’m convinced it’s really bad luck, especially when it happens in the restaurant!               

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