Did you know award-winning celebrity Chef Matt Abdoo started to develop his culinary skills and realized cooking was his calling while working at Cafe CaNole?

I first saw Chef Matt Abdoo on the Today Show and I really like his easy-to-follow and make recipes. He recently inspired me to try to make grilled caesar salad. Who knew you could grill roman lettuce? He did, and now I do.

Cindy McMullen
Cindy McMullen

Yes, Matt Abdoo was raised in New Hartford and said he started his culinary training at a very young with his Italian and Lebanese family.

“Food was always a part of my life...My mother and grandmothers were always feeding me, and having me try new things.”  [Matt Addoo]

Abdoo decided to learn the business side of the restaurant business first and attended SUNY Geneseo, where he received his degree in Business Administration.

“Opening and running my own restaurant was my dream and I wanted to make sure that I would be able to understand the business aspect as well.” [Matt Addoo]

Extra income still came from Café CaNole during the college years during summer vacation and any other time off. They helped him hone his skills in preparation for attending culinary school, which would eventually pay off big time.

Abdoo enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he graduated Valedictorian and earned head chef position at (Best Chef in America) Marc Orfaly’s new Italian Restaurant Marco. Abdoo still has a way to go to get to where he is today. We sure hope he enjoyed the ride.

You see, Matt Abdoo is now chef and partner of Pig Beach, the critically-acclaimed barbecue restaurant and beer garden located in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn New York and now in Palm Beach Florida. Here's just the beginning of how THAT happened:

In 2008, Abdoo was working with Chef Mark Ladner at Del Posto Restaurant in New York City as it received a coveted four-star review from the New York Times and the Relais & Chateaux distinction. While on a BBQ trip to Texas, he met an investor they became friends. They turned their love of BBQ into a hobby and started competing. That eventually led them to the World Series of BBQ Competition in Memphis, where they placed 1st in Poultry and 2nd in Whole Hog during their very first appearance. WOW, right?

Soon after, they went back to  New York City and opened Pig Beach BBQ as a summer pop-up in 2015. As the pop-up began to take off, Matt Abdoo quickly realized he was on to something and made the decision to leave Del Posto in the spring of 2016 to focus entirely on BBQ. Pig Beach BBQ officially opened as a permanent restaurant in 2016 and in no time, gained prestigious accolades including Eater’s “Best Burger” in 2016 and 2nd Place for both “Judges Choice” & “People’s Choice” at the 2016 New York City Wine & Food Festival’s event, Burger Bash.

Matt is a frequent guest chef on The Today Show and has appeared on Food Network's The Kitchen, NBC's The Chew, DirecTV's Fantasty Zone, and more. Think he ever comes home to New Hartford?

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