Troy, NY – New restaurant/bar The Shop formally announces their new Head Chef and the release of their first full menu.
This February the restaurant is proud to announce Richard Matthews as their new Head Chef. Matthews comes to The Shop with a background in French Cuisine and Gastropub Fare. Having studied at Johnson & Wales University, Matthews was formally trained for two years as sous chef under French certified Master Chef Luc Pasquier. Knowing there was more to learn Matthews moved on, utilizing the French mindset of staying true to the ingredients, and using herbs and spices to nuance and accent the final product.
Matthews: “I think that the local industry has gradually drifted away from work intensive and knowledge-based forms of cooking to easy and fast paced cookie-cutter cuisine. For me to have an opportunity to use French technique and training, as well as inspiration from my grandmother, to reflect classic flavors in a modern way – I couldn’t be more excited to be doing this at The Shop.”
The Shop opened its doors in late October 2014 despite significant setbacks in the time leading up to their planned opening date. One week prior to opening their head chef resigned due to personal reasons; with a kitchen staff in place, owners Kevin Blodgett and Nada Rifai, decided to have the show go on—offering a tasty but limited quality comfort food and cocktail menu.
Blodgett: “We pulled this place up by its bootstraps after losing our first chef. For two months the kitchen was stretched thin and I was spending way more time in there than I’d ever imagined I would. It took two months to find the right fit and we found it in Rich. Not only is he an amazing chef but, like us, he’s young, driven, and takes a creative approach to problem solving – we couldn’t be more excited to have him as part of our crew.”
Part of the way The Shop is able to achieve affordable price points while offering high quality menu items is through skill, technique, and execution in lieu of buying overpriced ingredients which demand a higher price tag. If Matthews determines they can make it themselves, they do. Cured sauerkraut, hardwood smoked bacon, cured pork butt, canned and pickled vegetables, and house ground are just a few examples of menu items that use inexpensive ingredients which deliver big flavors without the costs and preservatives of manufactured foods.
(Ham, poached eggs with an onion sauce from the brunch menu)
With the addition of their new head chef, The Shop is releasing their first full menu this. Expected to change seasonally, this first menu is focused on hearty, protein-rich dishes utilizing locally sourced meats and fresh, seasonal produce. Part homage to the grandmother who raised him, Matthews geared the new menu towards the memorable dishes he experienced as a child. He built upon those flavor profiles and pairings using his skills as a trained chef and put together a menu that reminds him of home. On the menu is Lumberjack Stew, which Matthews says, “I have vivid memories of eating that dish with the smell of a wood stove burning in the background; it takes me back to my childhood, my home, and an intense feeling of intimacy.”
The menu is expected to change quarterly as produce changes with the seasons and palates change with the weather. The Shop’s menu options are designed to remind customers of damn good home cooking with the twists and flare that only a trained chef could pull off. Dishes are crafted not only to fill you up and evoke a sense of comfort but sentiments of hard-work, dedication, and the satisfaction of working with one’s hands.
The Shop’s new menu will offer a variety of appetizers, small, and large plates. Aware of the Capital Region's limited food options after, The Shop will strive to create a schism in dining by providing separate dinner and late night menus. The hopes are to create an environment that is appropriate for evening diners, as well as for friends enjoying a few drinks and food in a more social environment after dinner hours. The Shop welcomes the under-served vegetarian and gluten free market with menu options to satiate any appetite. Brunch is offered Sat. and Sun. from .
The Shop is open Mon.-Wed., Thur.-Fri. , Sat. , and Sun. .
In honor of Valentine’s Day, The Shop will be offering a ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ anti-Valentines Day menu to be announced shortly before the holiday.