R5 Chef Q&A: Cedar Street Grill’s Matt Kay

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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