Chef Matt McCallister views cooking as ‘temporary media’ |

Chef Matt McCallister views cooking as ‘temporary media’

Caramie Schnell
Chef Matt McCallister received a 2014 Food & Wine Best New Chef nod and was a James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest 2014.
Kevin Marple | Special to the Daily |

Meet the Chef

Chef Matt McCallister will be serving his food at two events at the Beaver Creek Food & Wine Weekend, both taking place on Saturday. You can also meet him at the Meet the Chefs event kick off reception on Thursday and the Celebrity Chef Ski Race & Brunch on Sunday.

Ski.Eat.Ski event 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the mountain and at Zach’s Cabin, $120 (sold out)

• Grand tasting, 7 to 10 p.m. at Ford Hall, $150.

Visit for more information.

BEAVER CREEK —Chef Matt McCallister loves food nearly as much as he loves art. In his 20s, he first chose the latter, studying visual arts at Metropolitan Arts Institute in Phoenix in 2000. But ultimately the kitchen beckoned. Without any formal training, he opened his restaurant, FT33, in Dallas in 2012. There, each dish he serves is an artistic endeavor, allowing him to blend his passions.

“I spent a lot of my childhood in the garden and also cooking with my mother,” McCallister said. “(Cooking) has always been there, it just took some time to decide that it was what I wanted to do. I like that each dish has a short lifespan, in an artistic sense; temporary media.”

Since opening FT33, a modern, season-inspired eatery, McCallister has been oft-written and talked about: He nabbed a spot on the 2013 Top 50 New Restaurant list from Bon Appetit, a 2014 Food & Wine Best New Chef nod and was a James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest 2014. He returns to Beaver Creek as a guest chef at the Food & Wine Weekend, taking place through Sunday.

“I make an effort to make it out to Beaver Creek on a frequent basis,” he said. “I was just there last year, and it was fantastic, as usual.”

He’ll be cooking at two events on Saturday: Ski.Eat.Ski, which is sold out, and the Grand Tasting. At the lunchtime event, he’ll be serving two courses: beets and buratta with red wine vinaigrette as well as elk chili with cornbread. At the Grand Tasting, he’ll be offering up Austrian winter peas with black trumpet mushrooms.

McCallister took the time to answer a few questions for the Vail Daily:

Vail Daily: Do you have any advice for aspiring chefs?

Matt McCallister: Work harder than you think that you need to. There is always someone out there that knows more than you do. Also this is a quote I like: “Fast is fine, but accuracy is final … learn to be slow in a hurry.”

VD: What are your goals for 2015?

MM: I am opening a new restaurant later this year (Filament) in Deep Ellum on the opposite side of downtown from FT33. I’m hoping to continue traveling as well. 2014 was a good year.

VD: What ingredients are inspiring you lately?

MM: Perfect roasted chicken comes to mind. We do a lot of newer techniques here at FT33, so when we open Filament, I hope to go back to some old school sh**.

VD: Do you pay close attention to food trends?

MM: Not typically. I start with what my farmers are growing and go from there. I have also been working with them to shape the following seasons … We just had a badass batch of sun chokes from one of our farmers that we have been talking about for almost two years.

VD: What’s the best thing you’ve eaten in the last 24 hours? And is there anything you’re embarrassed to admit having eaten in the last day or two?

MM: I suppose that this answer might cover both questions at the same time. Late night tacos at 3 a.m. There is a gas station near FT33 that stays open very late. I was working on something with my sous (chef) until 3 a.m. last night, and we stopped by for a bite. It is near downtown next to the county jail, so it is interesting to see some of the action that late at night.

VD: When you go on holiday, when do you pack your suitcase?

MM: An hour before I head to the airport … I only really need my snowboard!

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