About Chef Ed

My name is Ed Matthews and I'm a guy whose life is motivated by the answer to the question, "What's for dinner?" I also happen to be a 51-year old self-taught chef who is the owner of One Block West restaurant in Winchester, Virginia.

I opened the restaurant in 2002 and have spent every day since trying to find the best, the ripest, the freshest, and the coolest ingredients to serve. Since then, we've built a great network of local purveyors to bring the best of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley to our customers.

I aim for simplicity in my plates and I prefer to let the ingredients do the talking. If I'm at the market and I see some scarce and delicious doughnut peaches, I'm going to bring them home and they are going to feature pretty much as-is on my plates.

Sure, I could freeze these peaches in liquid nitrogen and powder them; I could liquify them and with a little reverse spherification magic, turn them into peach pearls; I could turn them into peach butter, peach leather, pickled peaches, peach chutney, peach confit, peach sorbet, peach purée, etc. ad nauseam. I could. I very well could. But I won't. You know why? Because there is not a damn thing that I as a chef can do to that luscious peach to make it any better than it is the moment that it came off the tree.

And I'm a restless explorer of new (to me) ingredients. I've been cooking seriously for thirty years and last year, I played with over 300 ingredients that were new to me. We have fifteen different kinds of rice in our pantry at the restaurant, each for a different application.

That's me in a nutshell. Always pushing for better and riper and more local produce, more humanely raised animal proteins, different and less threatened seafood, always looking for the better ingredient. And once I find it, leaving it alone and letting it speak.

Outside of the restaurant, I consult for a few foodservice distributors and brokers, helping to develop marketing materials and salesforce training. I do recipe development for several companies as well. And I write for a few different publications. I'm pretty good at navigating the murky waters of social marketing too. Have a product for which you need recipes, sellsheets, blog posts, or other marketing collateral? Email me.