Our Bacon Babe, Matthew

Pan-fried gnocchi, Hawaiian shirts & the sites of Venice Beach with this week's MM

Matthew Walrath cures his own bacon. And that’s probably where we can end this Male Monday. Do we really need to go on? That should be enough to tie you over for another week, right? This perfect 10, cures. his. own. bacon. Done. But for all those vegetarians out there, we’ll continue: Matt is the head chef and nutritionist at the very awesome Solé Bicycles in Venice Beach. An east coast native, he’s been living in VB for almost two years, taking in the sun, reading books, meditating, working-out, and just generally being the ultimate Male Monday. Matt made us some pan-fried paleo sweet potato gnocchi with walnut pesto last week. His recipe is coming this afternoon, but first, get to know him a little better…

Hometown: Fair Haven, NJ

Describe your first food memory from your childhood?
I remember it vividly, let me paint a picture: A pile of spaghetti and meatballs with a healthy helping of Romano cheese gets put in front of me in in my high chair. Seconds later the spaghetti is in my hair. My face, hands, arms, and chest are painted red with sauce. The meatballs actually made it in my belly. I learned that day that food is fun.

People know you by… my affinity for bacon. In some circles people know me by the moniker, “Matt Bacon.”

As a teenager you were… a product of social conditioning.

Last album you downloaded: I just got Tycho’s “Awake” album on vinyl.

OK, thank you for making us look like bad people. What about your go-to karaoke song?
I think the better question is, Go-to karaoke performance? And it’s “Hotel California.”

Excellent! Describe a day in the life of Matt:
My day always involves meditation upon waking, meditation in the kitchen (specifically the art of cooking and coffee), and the notorious Wally 3-Hour Workout as my friends at Solé have labeled it. I am fortunate that my work with athletes is all about face-to-face interaction and it requires me to always be learning. You can often find me sitting out by the beach or boardwalk with a book and (analog) notebook. Nature is a pretty awesome office space.

Now describe the ultimate day in the life of Matt:
I am awake. I surf with friends at sunrise, we prepare a wonderful breakfast of great coffee, bacon and eggs. We kayak out to do some deep-water solo climbing, spear a fish and cook it up for lunch. I read a book that challenges my perspective before heading out for a sunset surf. Then, a pot-luck style dinner with good friends and some Mezcal to get the conversation flowing late into the night. I think the aforementioned Hotel California performance fits in there somewhere!

Perfect! Onto to food, do you watch cooking shows?
I don’t have a TV but when I did, all I watched were cooking shows. I used to be so envious of Anthony Bourdain in No Reservations, traveling to learn about other cultures through food and drink, is something that I would pay to do. He gets paid to do it. I don’t know if Andy Ricker is a “celebrity chef” per se, but I am a huge fan. My first Pok Pok experience was life changing, and I have never been disappointed by a single detail at any of his restaurants.

Who taught you how to cook?
My mom—she makes the best meatballs in the world. I remember the first time I helped her make meatballs. It was a blast getting elbow deep in a bowl full of meat, eggs, and… well, I can’t give away the family secret recipe so I have to stop there. I’ve been obsessed with cooking since.

You’ve had a terrible day, what do you make yourself when you get home?
Candied bacon on top of a bowl of ice cream.

What’s you signature dish?
It depends who you ask, but I’ve been curing my own bacon for almost two years now and I feel like I’m expected to bring some or integrate it into a dish at every dinner party I attend. The signature cure is done with smoked ghost chili salt, smoked paprika and New Mexican Green Chili.

Ideal meal to cook to impress a girl: Breakfast, she probably wasn’t expecting that in the morning 😉

Taste you couldn’t live without: Umami

And the all-important west coast question: How do you take your In N Out Burger?
Well if I’m eating In-N-Out it’s a f*** it kind of day so probably a 4×4 animal style with chopped chiles.

How do you take your In-N-Out burger? Need more Male Monday? Click here!