Name: Chef Matthew Palamara
Restaurant Phone Number: (251) 968-3104
Restaurant Website: coastalalabama.edu
Where were you born and raised?
What inspired you to become a chef?
I’ve had a love of food since I was very young, and I always wanted to help in the kitchen. When I got into the Boy Scouts, I seemed to always have kitchen duty on campouts, and the enjoyment I got out of that eventually led me to pursue professional cooking.
Where did you train to become a chef?
I graduated culinary school at Faulkner State Community College and have had lots of on-the-job training in the years since!
What others jobs have you worked within the food industry?
Educator! I started as an adjunct instructor in 2008, and I transitioned into full-time teaching two years ago.
What does your typical workday involve?
I get to school early, before class, and I gather my ingredients for my demonstrations that day. I lecture on and demonstrate various topics and techniques throughout the class period. But mostly I guide the students through their cooking and offer hints and pointers to help them become better cooks and chefs.
Who is the most notable person you’ve ever cooked for?
Morgan Freeman is the name most people will recognize. He came into a restaurant I was working at years ago and we were able to feed him and the people he was traveling with. He was just as nice as you’d expect him to be.
If you could cook for any celebrity of historical figure, who would it be?
I’d love to cook with René Redzepi. Not necessarially a celebrity, but the man is a food genius.
Do you own any pets?
A chocolate lab named Egan and a turtle named Soup.
What’s your favorite seafood dish to serve up for yourself and your family?
New Orleans style BBQ shrimp. We make it every year for Christmas dinner with our extended family.
What makes Alabama Gulf Seafood special?
Personally, I feel that our seafood tastes the best in the world. And the people you meet who are involved with our seafood are some of the most passionate and dedicated people out there. Combine those two and you have a recipe for success.