Matt Zubrod joined The Little Nell in April 2015, first as Executive Chef of The Sundeck, then in June, he was promoted to Executive Chef oversee all culinary operations for the hotel’s restaurants, banquets and in-room dining.
Matt began his career with Ritz-Carlton, initially working in Aspen, Naples and Boston before moving on to the historic Hotel del Coronado in San Diego as Executive Sous-Chef. In 1999, he took over The Vail Cascade Resort as Executive Chef and opened The Ritz-Carlton, Aspen Highlands as Executive Chef in 2001. As a departure from the corporate world, he branched out into the independent restaurant scene to open Dish Aspen as Executive Chef and Managing Partner. He next moved to Hawaii where he opened Monette’s at Mauna Kea Resort, which he ran for several years. A short stopover in California at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa brought Matt, his wife, Denise, and their children, Christina, Bode and Finn, back to the mainland. In 2013, they returned to Aspen where he served as Executive Chef at BB’s Kitchen until joining The Little Nell.
“Matt’s style of cooking encompasses a variety of flavors informed by Alpine and coastal influences from his time working in the Rocky Mountains and by the Pacific Ocean,” said The Little Nell’s Managing Director, Simon Chen. “As Executive Chef at The Nell, he will continue to promote our farm-to-table cuisine, incorporating regional and seasonal products and a commitment to approachable yet memorable dining experiences.”
The hotel’s signature restaurant, element 47, has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation for its outstanding wine program overseen by Wine Director Carlton McCoy, MS, and its cellar 20,000-bottles deep with a focus on Burgundy. Executive Chef Matt Zubrod and Chef de Cuisine Matt Padilla’s New American Cuisine is based on locally sourced ingredients. Element 47 was awarded a Forbes Five-Star designation in 2015 and recognition by Wine Spectator as Grand Award-Winner since 1995 and by Wine Enthusiast as a Top 100 Restaurant since 2011. Celebrated architecture team of Bentel & Bentel is responsible for the modern design, enhanced by a contemporary art collection curated by Paula Crown, an owner of the hotel and artist herself.
Is there a humorous experience or something of interest that happened during your life that has contributed to the kind of chef you are today?
My first chef told me, “Everyone is out to fuck you, so prepare yourself today so that if no one shows up to work tomorrow, you won’t be in the shit”.
What is your favorite restaurant to dine in?
Beach Tree, Hour Seasons Hualalai
What got you into cooking?
Parents had a schedule growing up and we each had to cook dinner 1 night a week, I loved it.