Interview with Chef Matthew Kammerer of The Harbor House Inn

It was an absolute pleasure to get to interview the fabulous, and award-winning Chef Matthew Kammerer from one of my favorite places to stay and dine in Mendocino County, The Harbor House Inn. Read more about my stay here!

Of course, I had to grab Chef Matt for a chat about his fabulous dishes after my last visit, which you can read all about here!

What was your first memory of cooking and what did you cook? 

Lobsters cooked in beer with my Dad. I don’t actually think I cooked anything, just the memory of being chased around by the lobsters my dad released. 

When did you know you wanted to become a chef? What was your first cooking role? 

I don’t think it’s an aha moment, it was just gradually being immersed in this pirate ship workplace that attracted me.  I find people interesting, and fast-paced environments.  So here we are. 

You studied cooking at Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island. Share more about Culinary school and how that education shaped your next steps in your career.

More than the actual school, working and going to school at the same time helped me the most.  Understanding the dedication it would take to be successful.  The school was 7 am-1 pm then I would go to work until 12 am.

What was one of the biggest mistakes you made your first year in the culinary industry?

Forgetting my knives on the first day of a new job. 

What is one ingredient you cannot cook without? I’m going to guess seafood.

 HH Salt. 

Speaking of seafood, what does a “harvesting license” entail? I read that you have one and it allows you to harvest up to 10 lbs of seafood a day. 

This is just a non-commercial fishing license.  

The menu at Harbor House has a heavy seafood influence, how did your time as a Chef in Japan shape the menu at Harbor House? 

I was able to see the highest standard of seafood handling and quality. 

Who has been the most influential mentor/chef in your career?

My book collection. 

What is your favorite after-work drink?

I don’t drink during the work week, but at the end of the week, I whiskey or beer next to the fire pit. 

As an Elk/ Mendocino local now, what is your favorite local spot when you’re not at work? 

Restaurant: Gama.

Place: any forest or beach

Tell us something that would surprise people about you.

I’m colorblind. 

Thank you to Chef Matthew Kammerer for taking the time to tell me more about his process, I can’t wait for my next visit and I highly recommend you put the Harbor House Inn on your must-visit list too!

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