Florence native brings chef talents to FLT Friends’ dinner
By Brenda harrison Contributing Writer Florence, S.C.
The Friends of the Florence Little Theatre honored directors of this season’s FLT productions with an Appreciation Dinner on May 7. The event was held outdoors at the home of Lloyd and Elise Walker. Their son, Matt Walker, a chef in Wilmington, N.C., prepared the meal.
For the Friends’ Appreciation Dinner, Matt prepared Carolina Gold Risotto, a spring salad, Braised Short Ribs with Risotto Gnocchi, Stuffed Chicken Ballantine with roasted mushroom and arugula, and Sweet Corn Panna Cotta.
“Dinner was superlative,” said Jumana Swindler who directed ‘Mamma Mia.’ “Not only was the food spectacular in taste, his presentation was lovely. Each course was on par with any five star restaurant. I am particularly partial to his appetizer of risotto, ham and shrimp. I would be happy to travel to Wilmington for this treat and plan on it!”
Matt and his wife Jennifer are currently developing a new restaurant in Wilmington. They obtained a 120 year-old bungalow on Blandon Street that was slated to be demolished and moved it a few blocks away. The Historic Wilmington Foundation assisted.
The next steps are to build the new foundation, renovate the interior and restore the home’s exterior, as well as add a kitchen and porch. They chose the name “Three 10” which was the home’s original address. The couple hopes to open in the fall of this year.
Matt will serve as chef. Jennifer, who has considerable experience in restaurant management, will serve as the general manager.
“She is well aware of the restaurant ins and outs,” he said.
Matt started working in food service 16 years ago and even though he tried a few other things over the years, he always made his way back to the kitchen deciding this was a career he loved.
“It’s a fun atmosphere and a good outlet to be creative,” he commented.
He has owned a small restaurant in Austin, Texas, which he described as a neighborhood gastro pub serving eclectic food. He also worked as a chef in a restaurant in Fort Collins, CO., and served as a sous chef in a seafood restaurant.
An oyster lover, Matt said the move to Colorado provided the opportunity to experience a wide variety of bivalues. Even though landlocked, this western state has access to seafood from all over, he explained.
With the desire to open their own restaurant, the Walkers began looking for a destination between his native South Carolina and her native Virginia. Also he wanted to focus on his favorite foods – Southern and seafood. Wilmington, N.C. provided the perfect spot. It is one of the fastest growing restaurant markets, he noted.
Currently, Matt is cooking at a busy French restaurant as a line cook.
“It’s fun,” he said beaming.
To find out more about Three 10 and its opening, visit the website www. three10wilmington.com.