Chef Laurence Weddel
Mattia’s Trattoria Piano Bar
3202 Marina May Drive • 281-334-7445
Background / Experience: I attended Le Cordon Bleu, a French culinary school so one could say my background is classic French, but I’ve worked at anywhere from fine dining Italian to South American steakhouses. I had to work my way up the ranks and did so very fast. I credit that to my schooling and working under awesome chefs. I learned as much as I could from them even if that meant working for free, but I feel it has definitely paid off. I’ve also done some consulting and helped set up and open a few establishments.
Your Specialty: I’d say classic French, but mainly it’s all in the techniques. Once you get that down and your flavor profiles, the rest is being able to work with fresh, quality ingredients and having a good imagination. Cooking is all about trial and error. I would say I’m lucky to have worked in so many restaurants and many different styles. I have taken something from each one of them that I apply in my day-to-day grind.
Signature Dish: I do a lot with fresh seafood. I’d say my craziest invention as of late has been Slipper Lobster poached in white wine vanilla beans and butter served atop a slaw of pomegranate, green cabbage, carrot and daikon with a caramelized pineapple rice wine vinaigrette.
Have you ever prepared a meal for anyone famous or infamous? While I was finishing up my externship at Zinc Bistro in Scottsdale, AZ. I got to cook a steak for Thomas Keller. He’s a pretty famous and intimidating chef. As it goes, Chef Keller trained the chef I did my externship under, so it was pretty awesome and nerve racking.
Please share 1 special cooking tip or technique for our readers: When searing meat or fish, don’t forget to deglaze the pan by pouring in a little white wine. When that reduces half way, whip in a little butter and you get an awesome flavorful sauce.