Matthew’s back in the kitchen!

I’m not one for rankings, but Matthew Bilodeau is one of my three favorite Vermont chefs. I loved his food when he was cooking at the [old] Black Door, and I’m psyched he’s back in action at the “new” Three Penny Taproom. From Matthew’s cooking I’ve learned to love swiss chard, celeriac, and Tarentaise cheese. He cooked one of the best steaks I’ve ever had.

The guy’s been working 100-hour days to open the kitchen at the Taproom (see today’s Times-Argus story), but he’s happy as a clam. Granted, he has no time to watch the Tour de France during those days, but he’s content with the midnight recaps, he says. Will he have time to watch any Olympics, between cooking and canning all the tomatoes coming in the door? “They never show track bike racing anyway,” he says of his favorite event.

When asked that old standard of chef-interview questions — if you could cook for anyone, who would it be and what would you cook? — he responded that he’d cook for his mom “since I don’t get the opportunity to do that very often.” So dedicated is he to cooking what’s fresh and seasonal that his response, delivered with his boyish smile, was simply, “whatever we have that night.”

Whatever they have, when cooked by Matthew, is always great, and I highly recommend the Taproom for lunch or dinner.

Looking to get out of Montpelier this weekend? Check out the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, hosted at Shelburne Farms and presented by the Vermont Cheese Council. Maybe they’ll be sampling some of that yummy Tarentaise…