Matthew Kenney Joins PlantX as Chief Culinary Officer, Plus an Exclusive Recipe
Plant-based celebrity chef Matthew Kenney, who has 42 restaurants in 22 cities around the world, is now joining PlantX, the vegan marketplace to help curate and design the store's full experience for shoppers who want to buy healthy vegan food that is as delicious as it is good for you. Kenney's title is Chief Culinary Officer, meaning he will introduce his signature innovative expertise and elevated food style to the retailer's products, packaging, menu, and plant-based meal delivery service, noted in his five-year contract.
If you've ever eaten at one of Matthew Kenney's high-end vegan restaurants like Double Zero or Plant Food and Wine, imagine the sophisticated design and food style that the chef will bring to PlantX's tables, and your plate. Kenney, who trained for several years in France, is recognized for his fresh, sophisticated meals and healthy recipes, which he plans to integrate into the food choices at the store, so you can be sure you're getting only the best ingredients.
"I've been working as a plant-based chef for the last 18 to 20 years, supported by my team throughout my career, and we have never been more ready to partner with a large grocery store like PlantX," said Kenney.
What is PlantX?
PlantX is the "digital face of the plant-based community," a one-stop-shop for everything plant-based with its fast-growing chain of grocery stores. The company offers customers across North America more than 10,000 plant-based products and will open a brick-and-mortar flagship store in Hillcrest San Diego, but have yet to disclose an opening date. If you want a sneak preview of the products and offerings, you can purchase from its website and have it delivered to your doorstep. Many consider PlantX the "vegan Amazon."
Matthew Kenney Will Open His Bodega, New Deli, in PlantX
Further, Kenney and PlantX also entered into a non-binding letter of content where the grocery store will own shares of Kenney's bodega New Deli, located in Venice Beach, California. PlantX made it clear that New Deli will open a location in their San Diego store, a project that is currently under development. Soon enough, you can enjoy Kenney's one-of-a-kind sandwiches like his chickpea tuna melt with smoked gouda while you shop for groceries or take a container of eggless tofu salad to-go.
New Deli also offers a range of everyday retail goods like household supplies, beer and wine, pantry staples, hygiene products, and more. "The bodega will incorporate everything the MKC team has learned about curating products and plant-based convenience. I really hope one day New Deli will become a large retailer like 7-Eleven and that we make plant-based eating more convenient," said Kenney. The chef also hinted that the New Deli and PlantX concept will "become international" within the next year.
Kenney Will Oversee PlantX's Meal Delivery Program
As part of Kenney's responsibilities, he will oversee PlantX's meal delivery program, and couldn't be more thrilled. Kenney mentioned the program will also include "input from other chefs," and added, "I'm really the chief on that front." Kenney and his well-equipped team, which he's "coached for years," will add three components to the meal program. "We will source the best ingredients or products, new innovative ideas, and apply technology to make plant-based the most exciting food in the world," said Kenney. "We really want people to enjoy plants in their natural forms, keeping them as pure as possible without too much alternation or processed ingredients. You will find this food style at PlantX," he added.
PlantX has high hopes for Kenney and his team to transform the culinary process and deliver a superb customer experience. "We are thrilled to have Matthew bring his cutting-edge vision and talent to PlantX," said Julia Frank, PlantX CEO.
Kenney Shares His Inspiration For Plant-Based Cuisine
When we spoke to Kenney about this new project, we couldn't help but ask him about the driving force behind his craft. The chef with the upper hand in the plant-based industry said that his inspiration to make unique, simple plant-based dishes doesn't stem from the food itself. The LA-based chef enjoys finding inspiration from different cultures and the outdoors.
"My inspiration doesn't come from food per se, it usually comes from fashion, art, music, and nature," Kenney said. Chef Kenney mentioned that he does not sort through cookbooks or feel influenced by other restaurant menus, but rather feels creative when he's gardening or observing nature during a hike.
Kenney also mentioned some essential ingredients that every home chef should have on hand to create top-quality meals. "Make sure to have the best the basic products like sea salt, olive oil, and citrus components, I call them secret weapons, these are the building blocks to a great plant-based meal. In my kitchen, I have three different kinds of olive oils and truffle oils. I normally have citruses like grapefruit, orange, lemons, and limes. There are so many amazing products now that we just need to find the ones we love and use them often."
If you want to make one of Chef Matthew Kenney's favorite meals, we have a delicious recipe below. Try making his roasted pumpkin dish with almond oil and makrut lime leaf for a sweet and savory entree or side.
Pumpkins Roasted in Almond Oil and Makrut Lime Leaf
- 1 large kabocha squash
- 1 small cheese pumpkin
- 12 makrut lime leaves
- 24 sprigs lemon thyme
- 2 cups cold-pressed almond oil
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt
- 2 cups red grapes
- 2 tablespoons cold-pressed almond oil
- 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
- 12 sprigs lemon thyme
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted
- 1 tablespoons pumpkin seed oil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1⁄2 cup raw almond
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Cut squash and pumpkin in half and remove the seeds.
- In a large Dutch oven, place half the lime leaves and half the thyme on the bottom, then place squash and pumpkin, cut-side up, and top with almond oil.
- Sprinkle with salt and top with the rest of the lime leaves and thyme.
- Cover and roast for 35 minutes. Remove lid and let roast for 10 more minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toss grapes in almond oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and top with thyme. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Toss all ingredients and set them aside.
- Remove squash and pumpkin from oil and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- Break into irregular-shaped pieces and scatter on a large round plate.
- Place roasted grapes around pieces of squash and pumpkin and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Using a Microplane, shave almonds over the whole plate.