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Matthew Kirkley
Chef of L2o Restaurant
Interests: Cooking, seafood
Recent Activity
FOOD TRENDS BEFORE THE INTERNET AGE: A READING LIST FOR ASPIRING CHEFS By Michael Laiskonis, ICE Creative Director I fell into cooking quite by accident. It was the 1990′s and I was pursuing studies in an unrelated field. To supplement my meager student income, I took a job in a... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2014 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
Despite the grand scale of Chicago, my world is rather small. Living a block away from the restaurant, my environment on a weekly basis overwhelmingly consists of the 400 block of Belden Avenue. I find that a narrowed scope improves my focus, and I find that that improved focus leads... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2014 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
I've come to appreciate dusk. It's the time of day that I am least likely to be outdoors, as I find myself on most days to be busy preparing for the evening's service. I hadn't really thought much of this particular time of day until it came up in conversation... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2013 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
Over the last several years, I have increasingly come to admire the works of Bernard Pacaud, and his restaurant L’Ambroisie in Paris. I had first heard of L’Ambroisie while flipping through the 2006 edition of the Michelin Guide, yet I had never seen any mention of the restaurant in any... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2013 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
We had a special arrival this week from Spain here at the L2o kitchen, Percebes. Known as the Goose Barnacle in English, or Pouce Pied in French, these hardy, thumb shaped barnacles are tough to get a hold of, as they fetch sky high prices in Europe. We've been trying... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2013 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
I'm not crazy about using my phone for photography. While I freely admit that it's a bit silly to carry around several black rectangles that dictate to me my life, as opposed to just one black rectangle that tells me what to do, I still appreciate a separation of my... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2013 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
Throughout my career, I have always valued cookbooks as a means of learning, but also as a genuine fan of food. Here are a few that I have found particularly meaningful over the years. L'Ambroisie, Place des Vosges a Paris by Bernard Pacaud I lucked out and found a copy... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2013 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
An influential dish that I have been thinking about lately. Yannick Alleno's Fresh Anchovy Seasoned Like a Tabbouleh I distinctly remember this particular dish from the Meurice in Paris when I staged there in 2004. Speaking no French, I was escorted brusquely to the garde manger, where the sous chef... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2013 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
A few thoughts on restaurant ratings: Since 1933, the Michelin Guide has used a rating system of 1 to 3 stars to connotate what the guide considers to be high quality cooking at restaurants. Opponents of the guide's system criticize the vagueness of the categories' criteria, a lack of definition... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2013 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
In my humble, yet highly opinionated opinion, the best noodle shop in the Chicagoland area is not in Chicago, nor Illinois. It's behind the Baccarat pit of the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. I stumbled upon (quite literally) this hidden delight at 3am one evening, and since have become quite... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2013 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
By the summer of 2006, I had become increasingly concerned that I was not gaining enough experience in my craft. The year prior, I had travelled to France to spend a week in the kitchen of the Meurice in Paris. That stage would redefine what fine dining could be in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2013 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
What does it mean to be a chef? The word's meaning in contemporary terms is in itself a bit murky in meaning. Webster defines the word chef as "a skilled cook who manages a kitchen (as of a restaurant)", derived from the French chef de cuisine or "chief of the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2013 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
Langoustine Party Our kitchen at L2o has seen much change as we adapt to the change in season around us. I always welcome the approaching of the cold weather, as it allows for more hearty methods and techniques in our cooking, and deeper, richer flavors as a result. I find... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
Geoduck Clam, Clam Jelly, Manila Clam, Lime Zest Life continues to develop here at L2o. August saw the introduction of geoduck clams to the Pacific side of our tank system. They are otherworldly in appearance, a striking example of how diverse and complex life in the ocean can be. The... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
Crab Fishing 101 I don't quite have the patience for most fishing, but crab fishing suits my restless personality rather well. Fishing for the mighty Blue Crab is rather action packed, a quick paced sport utilizing the most basic of means and technology. Like oysters, Blue Crabs need brackish (a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
Our first life arrived to the tank this week, starting with the abalone. The abalone, which are farm raised in Cayucos, California by the good people at The Abalone Farm, arrive to us in a sealed plastic bag out of a Priority Overnight FedEx box. At the bottom of the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
After 6 months of plotting and planning, our fish tank has now been installed in it's new home at L2o. The cabinet arrived on Friday from Avenue Metal, who have done a really swell job realizing Todd Haley's design. It's frame easily blends in with our kitchen's aesthetic, minimal and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
I live in a near vacuum. Not in a dark, consuming solipsistic view of my existence, but that my world is quite small, if not simple. And while I, too, have my set of black rectangles with glass screens that I lug around (one for constant phone interaction and electronic... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
I've always been a touch apprehensive about the modernizing or re-imagining of a classic dish. In the late summer of last year, Nick and I began testing out a bouillabaisse dish for the restaurant. I have cooked many variations of this dish in my career, but I hadn't served the... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
Beginning in October of last year, the team and I have been quietly working on a fish tank for the restaurant. There is a tremendous difference in the quality of seafood, particularly in shellfish, related to the amount of time that an animal spends out of water. The animal kicks... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
I've been thinking about smoked salmon for quite sometime now. I seem to forget that it indeed is well within the parameters of the seafood classification and thought it high time it found its way onto our menu. I wanted to find something loose in feeling and aesthetic, as I... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
The mighty Nick Janutol; my second-in-command, my better half, a famously generous tipper, dashingly handsome, a general well wisher to all, a real sailor's sailor, a mystery shrouded in a riddle, and an all around good guy; brought back from O'hare a real suprise for us this Thursday: 3 beautiful... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
Pierre Herme's Macarons Macarons are a sensitive subject for me. Seemingly simple, this tiny cookie has a tremendous amount of variables. Size, taste, texture, shape, color all come into question when critiquing a macaron, and opinions on what makes a great macaron tend to be very opinionated indeed. I am... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
Being a seafood restaurant in the middle of the continent brings with it many challenges. It is my intent to serve the very best that the sea has to offer to our guests and to treat it with the utmost respect and care. One animal has always been a particular... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley
For about half a year we have been running a miniature lobster roll as our amuse. I've always had a sense of trepidation when entering a fine dining restaurant for the first time. Fancy table settings; polished, suit clad waiters; elaborate menu designs; etc. all can make the first few... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2012 at MatthewRyanStanfieldKirkley