Matwijkow wins silver medal at 2013 Council of Food Service Association awards dinner
His organization, the American Culinary Federation [ACF] awarded him the honor as a result of his career achievement in the culinary field in the Greater Buffalo area. Over 400 people attended the event honoring six local accomplished culinary recipients.
Chef Matwijkow is the owner of “Unique Culinary Concepts”, an ice carving and catering business, and is presently serving in his second term as president of the ACF.
In addition to his culinary arts background, he has received a master’s degree in teaching and is a full time instructor in the culinary program at Niagara County Community College where he teaches international cuisine, food supervisory management and a host of other classes.
A student of BPS # 70 and Seneca Vocational High School, Chef Matwijkow was raised in the Seneca-Cazenovia area and began his culinary career at Early Times on Seneca Street in the early 1980’s.
Starting as a dishwasher and working to a position of prep cook, Matwijkow was noted in his formative years for his strong work ethic.
“Tom Gang, one of Early Times’ owners, instilled a strong restaurant work ethic in me,” Chef John stated shortly after receiving his award, “He was the type of boss that would come over when he had a moment to give you a hand doing dishes, just to help out and make sure things got done. Nothing was ever beneath him, we worked as a group.” Chef recalled.
That work ethic resonates today as Chef Matwijkow holds numerous positions in the culinary field and assists new chefs and culinary hopefuls get their start in this ever growing field.
“I tell my students that it’s important to be involved in their field,” Chef John states as he notes the national events he has taken his students to for competitions, “You need to get your name out there and see what others are doing as well.”
Aside from Early Times Restaurant, Chef Matwijkow worked in his initial restaurant years at Early Times in the Park, the second venture of restaurateurs Tom Gang and Tim Leary, and The Blackthorn, the successor to Early Times on Seneca Street, as well as the Hyatt Hotel, the Buffalo Club, and numerous other high end local establishments.
His wife Dory Matwijkow, a pastry chef at the Park Country Club, and his sons, Jacob and Austin Matwijkow, enjoy John’s continual experimenting in his home kitchen. Despite being surrounded by food throughout his work day, Chef John is frequently found at home grilling, sautéing, or stir frying a new combination of ingredients, or creating a new ice sculpture in his room-sized walk-in freezer in his garage.
From students, to peers, to family - Chef John Matwijkow has earned the respect of the regional culinary field and others through his hard work and continued education in the restaurant and culinary fields and has come a long way since his dishwashing days on Seneca Street.