Manhattan Chef a Big Believer in Planting for the Kitchen
Executive chef Matt Lambert, of Michelin award-winning New York restaurant The Musket Room, is a big believer in planting herbs, vegetables and flowers for cooking. At his Manhattan eatery, he grows six types of mint and three kinds of fennel.
“I’m able to just pick things exactly when I want them for cooking,” Auckland-born Lambert says. “When you buy something in a store, you don’t know when it was picked and how long it has been dying for. This way, when I want something, I cut it, wash it and put it on a plate – it gives you a more intense flavour.”
Whether you have a spacious backyard, a small urban terrace or a windowsill, Lambert says it’s important to “know your growing area … to maximise the garden and produce the best plants possible” when planning a kitchen garden.
Vegetables that grow vertically can work well in tight spaces, he says. “Runner beans, peas – things like that take off really well, even on a fire escape.”
Edible flowers have the advantage of being lovely to look at. “Nasturtiums basically bloom round the clock.”
Lambert began his US career at John’s Café in Connecticut, and worked at Public and Double Crown restaurants in Manhattan before opening his own restaurant.
He won Food Network’s Chopped cooking competition in 2011.
Original article by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2014.
Photo by Erica Gannett for The Wall Street Journal.