Chef Matthew Hayden credits his mom as being his first mentor in the kitchen. Being a “sick kid” Matt missed many days of school and spent a great deal of time with his mother. She taught him to cook and how to channel his creativity into other useful skills. Matthew’s father Phillip travelled the world extensively and introduced Matthew to the cultures, customs, and cuisines of many different countries. His father instilled in him a strong work ethic, a sense of pride in his community, and an entrepreneurial spirit.
He graduated from Ohio University with a psychology degree, worked as a “smoke tester,” climbing smoke stacks and performing technical services for the EPA and local Engineering firms. He then spent time as a studio musician, and still writes and performs original music, in his spare time. In the late 90’s Matt and his family purchased and operated the Centerville Pourhaus Tavern. Hayden’s next venture took him to Miamisburg, buying the old TW’s and reinvented it as The Chimney’s Inn. Matt spent eight years building his catering business while running the restaurant. Last year he sold that building to the Anticoli family, who now run Giuliano’s Tavern there. This allowed Matt to open his next venture, which he calls his dream business: Scratch Event Catering.
In the short time since he founded Scratch, Matt has earned a reputation in Dayton as a creative, forward-thinking chef and business-owner. He proudly offers his talents to his native city and devotes a great amount of time to his community. He serves in numerous non-profit capacities in Montgomery County: he is a trustee on the board of Dayton Opera, a member of Centerville Noon Day Optimists and Generation Dayton, and acts as a foodservice consultant for Aids Resource Center Ohio and numerous other non-profit organizations. Matt is optimistic for Dayton’s future and will continue to offer his talents and creativity to the city that gave him the opportunity to succeed.
What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?
At this moment, a common Indian spice blend called garam masala. For a chef that is compelled to explore new flavors continuously, a spice mix such as garam masala represents a stepping stone to endless possibilities. Because it contains numerous spices that are considered both savory and sweet to a western tastes, it can be substituted for cinnamon, traditional curry, clove or even cumin to tremendous effect. Imagine a apple with hints of cardamom and cumin or chicken salad with hints cinnamon and star anise….
What ingredient do you dread?
Im not sure I can say that I dread any ingredient. But if I did, I imagine it would be the ingredient that could only be prepared one way.
What’s your favorite dish to make? Probably Seafood Soups and Stews – They are festive in nature and are indigenous to nearly every culture. E.g. New Orleans Gumbo, Ciopinno, Brazilian Moqueca, She Crab Soup, Clam Chowder, Bermuda Fish Chowder…. They all make my mouth water, and are an occasion in and of themselves.
What’s your favorite pig out food?
Chicago Hot Dogs and Pizza to name a few
What restaurant, other than your own do you like to dine at in the Miami Valley?
Real Mexican at Taqueria Mixteca, Un Poco de Todos at Las Piramides, Numerous Slices from Flying Pizza, Massaman Curry and Rangoon Sticks at Bahn Mai Thai, Brie Flatbread Pizza and Gnocchi at Savona’s , Whole Wheat Calzone at Ha Ha Pizza, Anything with Submarine House Pepper Relish on it, Tapas until I am blue in the face at El Meson and Anything that has been touched by Elizabeth Wiley, Jenn Disanto, Anne Kearney or my Mother in Law.
What’s your best advice for home chefs?
No one has a monopoly on good food, so get crackin !
If you could invite any 4 guests to a dinner party who would they be and why?
Led Zeppelin – background music whilst I cook.
Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
Anthony Bourdain for telling it like it is; Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adria for thinking way-ass outside the box; Alton Brown for unearthing so much information and Rachel Ray for irritating me.
What do you do in the Miami Valley on a day off?
Be with my wife!
You’ll be able to sample Scratch Catering at the upcoming Fleurs et Vin Festival on Sun, May 20th at Carillon Park!