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Matt Shaw, Petty Officer 1st Class in US Coast Guard

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Matt in ship's kitchen.Name Troy Matthew Shaw (goes by Matt)

Hometown   Beeville, Texas

Current City   Astoria, Oregon

Course of Study  A.A.S. in Culinary Arts

Year of Graduation 2001 & 2011

Personal Motivational Motto “If you love your work, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

  • What is your story?

In 2001, I enrolled in a 16 week diploma program at the Culinary Institute LeNotre in Houston, Texas.  There I was trained by some of the most talented, renowned and respected French Master Chefs in the art of classical French cuisine and pastry. With dedication, discipline and pride, the instructors led by example, and guided me to myfirst foray into the field of professional culinary arts.

With diploma in hand, I opened Holly Road Café in the South Texas city of Corpus Christi. I was fortunate enough to successfully operate the restaurant for three years before closing due to family obligations.

In 2004 I enlisted with the USCG.  For six years, I served the USCG as a Boatswain Mate, earning the rank as a Petty Officer 2nd class.  On many occasions aboard both the USCGC AMBERJACK in South Padre Island, Texas and the USCGC CLAMP in Galveston, Texas, I made my way to the galley to prepare many an appetizing meal.

In 2011, after my six-year commitment was completed, I returned to the Culinary Institute LeNotre, to obtain an Associates of Applied Science in Culinary Arts.  My own dedication and discipline to this field of study led to the distinguished honor of giving the commencement speech as the Gold Magna Cum Laude graduate of myclass. Additionally, I won a scholarship for an internship in France.  In June of 2011, I moved to Paris, France and went to work for Gilles Epié, Michelin Star chef, at his restaurant Citrus Etoile, situated off the historical boulevard ChampsÉlysées.   It was in France I had the pleasure of cooking for “Slash” the once lead guitarist for the band Guns-N-Roses, along with an array of French dignitaries. 

Upon returning to the United States in 2012, I re-enlisted with the United States Coast Guard as a Food Service Specialist. 

With my culinary degree and varied experience, I took on the role as educator to the current FSO. I stressed the importance of buying locally-sourced organic products, in an effort to support the local community of farmers and producers.  With a background in classical French cuisine and a southern upbringing, I introduced many flavorful, multicultural, gourmet meals.  Eventually, I took over the role as FSO, and immediately made the galley my own by logging over 80 hours of total refurbishment of the mess deck and galley.  Known as the “Burgess Bistro” I created an upscale quality dining experience for the deserving crew of the USCGC ABBIE BURGESS. During the 2012 Cutter Operations and Readiness Training held in Newport, Rhode Island, I placed third in my first “Iron Chef” style competition.  By way of this event, I caught the attention of the Commanding Officer of the USCG Station Rockland who asked me to create the Change of Command cake.  I relied on my pastry skills from culinary school to execute an artistic culinary masterpiece that helped mark an important time-honored ceremony for the station.

In 2015, I transferred to the 210ft Coast Guard cutter Steadfast, out of Astoria, Oregon.  A year later I was awarded the Forrest O. Rednour memorial award for the dining facility/Galley of the year, for medium afloat class ships, the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast. 

  • What inspired you to become a chef?

For most of my adult life I have had a passion for food prep, presentation and for the pleasure of using food as a medium to bring together family, friends and colleagues.  It began in my mother’s humble country kitchen and has blossomed into a profession I am proud to have membership within.

  • How would you describe the impact of your courses at CIL on your daily life?

Now that I am in charge of my own galley (kitchen), I  have the opportunity to teach those just starting in the culinary field within the Coast Guard what I learned at CIL.  From “mise en place” to knife skills, to classical and contemporary culinary techniques.  Everyday I refer back to my training that I obtained with CIL over 15 years ago!

  • Any memorable moments as a student?

Returning to CIL in 2011 for an Associates degree, delievering the commencement speech as the Gold Magna Cum Laude graduate for my class, and then given a scholarship to stage in Paris by Alain and Marie LeNotre.

  • Do you have any projects in mind or in action?

Obtaining the award “Galley of the Year” once again for my ship in the Coast Guard.

  • Outside of CIL, what do you like to do on your personal time?

I like to visit farmer’s markets, build relationships with local food purveyors and chefs, visit farm-to-table restaurants, and travel around the state of Oregon with my wife and baby girl.

  • Any words of wisdom to students?

A culinarian’s learning process never stops.  There will always be a challenge to overcome and a skill set to refine.

Matt standing in ship's kitchen