Local chef Matt Morrissey will be heading to the Culinary Institute of America after winning a national contest with his employer, Boston Pizza.
His creation, which was coined as ‘Mediterranean Heat,’ was the top pasta out of the 340 locations in Canada.
“I’m just so excited about going,” said Morrissey, who works at the Portland Street location. “It’s my first time doing anything like this. I was just thinking I would get a consolation prize, but I got $500, plus a trip to California in the Napa Valley, so hopefully I’ll get to try some of their famous wines.”
The Portland Street location gave every chef an opportunity to create a pasta for the national contest, and had a panel of judges test each one before determining which dish would be sent.
Morrissey made enough of his signature dish for the panel of judges and the rest of the staff to try, he said it got top remarks from his colleagues and the critics.
“I’ve always liked to make my own pastas here anyways,” Morrissey said. “I just charge myself whatever the ingredients would be. I always make my own stuff.”
Morrissey’s recipe won the local contest, and was submitted for the national prize. He said he was just excited about participating and wasn’t expecting to beat out hundreds of other contestants with his creation.
“I was checking the website to see if anyone else had won and then Frank (Morrissey’s manager) got the call and he lost it,” he said. “He was jumping up and down yelling ‘we won, we won’ running around the kitchen and the restaurant telling all of the staff and then I got a call from him saying that we won and I was speechless.”
“We are all so excited that someone from our store has an opportunity to develop their skills at such a well-known institute,” said Frank Yunace, Morrissey’s manager.
When Morrissey leaves in October, it will be his first time outside of Canada. He said he’s not sure what he’ll learn while at the Culinary Institute of America, but he’s excited to find out.
Morrissey has been a chef with Boston Pizza for five years and he said he gets to try new recipes frequently. “That’s why I like being a cook because I get to make my own stuff,” he said.
His winning recipe will also be featured on the national menu in the coming months.
Matt Morrissey’s winning pasta: Mediterranean Heat
“I love spice, so I threw in some Tabasco sauce, some Cajun spice in there, nice and spicy. There’s some shrimp and sausage in it as well, I sauté all of the meats with the red onions and the spices, so it all blends together. Add some chipotle pomodoro for the sauce, mixed with penne noodles and garnished with feta cheese and green onions.” -- Matt Morrissey