Food and Wine: Star Chef Spotlights- Matt Molina

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Matt Molina, 2012 James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef - Pacific
Osteria Mozza

Matt Molina may only be in his early thirties, but he’s already running the kitchens of some of Los Angeles’ top restaurants: twin restaurants Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza. A graduate of the Los Angeles Culinary Institute, his work at Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza is not Molina’s first job working with Nancy Silverton. He got his culinary start at Los Angeles’ Campanile, where he first worked as a line chef and eventually as Chef de Cuisine of the prestigious landmark restaurant. He then left Los Angeles to train at New York City’s Del Posto, where he prepared for the role he works in today- executive chef of Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza.

Opened in 2007 and co-owned by Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich, it is the more formal Italian restaurant Osteria Mozza that has won the Mozza group, and Molina, national and international recognition. Known for the mozzarella bar and signature dish of striped bass alla Livornese, Osteria Mozza is always months out for reservations, attracting everyone from locals to tourists to celebrity chefs (such as Batali himself) or stars (such as Scarlett Johansen or Jake Gyllenhaal). Working primarily with chef Silverton, Molina supervises and executes all aspects of the kitchen, a large task and difficult role, particularly for someone of his young age. However, Molina has proven himself repeatedly, earning three stars from the Los Angeles Times, 2010 and 2012 nominations for James Beard Best Chef: Pacific, and a 2007 nominee for James Beard Rising Star Chef, along with earning Osteria Mozza a Michelin star in 2008 and a 2007 James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant.

Molina has also contributed as a writer of The Mozza Cookbook, and helps Osteria Mozza stay true to their “Green Initiatives,” as the restaurant is a certified GreenRestaurant. This includes recycling and composting, water and paper conservation, and the elimination of bottled water, helping Mozza contribute to preservation of the greater Los Angeles community.

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