In Events & Adventures, Staff Spotlights

Congratulations to our favorite Chef, Matthew Varga! This year, Rhode Island Hospitality Association has awarded Chef Varga the title of Chef of the Year! We, the team at Gracie’s and Ellie’s, are honored to call him our chef. 121815-055

Chef Matt is a man of many skills, talents, and passions. In the grand scheme of all that makes him great, his expert culinary skills are just the tip of the iceberg. Chef Matt is also an incredibly skilled leader. He not only cultivates the right people for his amazing team, but he also takes the time to grow them, both on an individual level and as a whole. Leading a successful kitchen staff requires a Chef to know how to balance the constant push for his team to be better, empathy for each team member and the challenges that come with his or her role, and the awareness to make sure the team has all the tools and resources they need to keep growing and feel fulfilled in their roles. Matthew Varga is a role model to everyone around him, including his peers.

Outside of the kitchen, Chef Matt takes time to create relationships with our farmers, fisherman, vendors, and guests. He knows what is in season, and who has the best produce or the freshest fish. Chef Matt tends to our rooftop garden. He plans in the cold months, plants in the spring, and tends to the garden all Summer. In the Fall, when the garden is reaching its end for the season, he heads out to the woods to forage mushrooms. Chef Matt is truly a farm to table chef. He knows the stories, the people, the ‘why’.

In addition to his love for food and his team, Chef Varga never misses an opportunity to reach out to the community. Matt volunteers his time and skills to organizations that include The March of Dimes, Refocus, and Amos House. He takes time out of his busy day to talk to middle school students about gardening, sustainability, and food, while giving them a tour of the rooftop garden. He visits Johnson & Wales University to speak to their students about the hospitality industry and life as a chef.

Chef Matthew Varga is the full package. He inspires us all to do better, work harder, believe in ourselves, and follow our dreams. We are honored to call him our Chef and couldn’t think of a better person worthy of this award. Congratulations, Chef!

Rhode Island Hospitality Association has been working hard to give a voice to the hospitality industry and its work force since 1963. They currently work with over 600 restaurants, vendors, and hotels in the state of Rhode Island. They are an invaluable resource for information on services, programs, and legislation that affects the hospitality industry. Their mission is to “lead Rhode Island’s hospitality industry to a new era of prosperity, prominence, and participation, enhance the quality of life for all we serve.” A big thank you to The Rhode Island Hospitality Association for honoring Chef Matthew Varga with such a prestigious award!

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