Executive Chef & Co-Owner, The Musket Room – Chef Matt Lambert marries his New Zealand heritage with a modern, innovative culinary technique at The Musket Room, where he is the Executive Chef and Co-owner, in partnership with restaurateur Jennifer Vitagliano and Manager Barbara, his wife.
Lambert’s menu draws inspiration from his Kiwi upbringing, experience working in New York City’s best kitchens and passion for locally sourced produce. Under his leadership, The Musket Room received a highly coveted Michelin Star, just four months after opening in May of 2013. Born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Lambert knew from a young age that he wanted to be a chef.
After applying for his first job at age 11 (the chef told him to come back when he was of age), Matt first found himself in a kitchen at 14, washing dishes and getting to know the industry that would become his life. At 16, he was granted an apprenticeship with New Zealand restaurateur Garry Bates, an experience which lead to his acceptance into the Culinary Program at Auckland University of Technology.
In 1999, Lambert relocated to Wellington, New Zealand, where he worked in various restaurants while completing his degree at Whitireia Community Polytechnic.
Shortly after graduating, Lambert and his mother opened a café called Sun Seair. Realizing that he still had a lot to learn about the business, Lambert returned to Auckland to work at Mediterranean mainstay, Red, and alongside Chef Michael Meredith at The Grove, where he met his future wife Barbara.
There, Lambert honed his craft and developed a passion for combining classical techniques with Asian flavors. Meredith impressed Lambert with his ability to stay current on global culinary trends, and it was, in part, with his encouragement that Lambert went to the United States.
Soon after relocating with Barbara to her home state, Lambert was hired as a sous chef at John’s Café in Woodbury, CT. Lambert loved working with local farmers to create his seasonal menus, while combining various American ingredients with those of New Zealand.
After two years at John’s Café, Lambert secured a position at PUBLIC, a one star Michelin-rated restaurant owned by the AvroKO group. There, he was quickly promoted to Sous Chef at their sister restaurant Double Crown and eventually worked his way up to Chef de Cuisine of PUBLIC and Saxon + Parole, which opened in 2011.
In his time with AvroKO, Lambert had the opportunity to compete on “Chopped” on the Food Network, taking home first place at the end of the episode.
When not in the kitchen, Lambert enjoys spending time with his son, traveling and playing the drums. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @MusketMatt.