Matt is a Live Fire Cooking expert and award-winning Pitmaster Meat Church BBQ; A unique BBQ brand offering BBQ seasoning, apparel, catering, recipes & instruction. Matt has appeared on the hit TV show BBQ Pitmasters and travels the world teaching and sharing his passion for BBQ.
Growing up in East Texas where barbeque is king, John Henry has wonderful memories of summer picnics, country fairs and great barbeque. So East Texas flavor was what he had in mind when he created his award winning barbeque sauces, spices and rubs. He recently won first prize for his succulent brisket in his hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas while participating in the Do-Dat Barbeque Cookoff. As head of the Culinary Service Department for the Houston Community College System, John has taught the masterful art of cooking for over twenty years before retiring in 2006. He oversaw the training for future cooks, chefs and caterers specializing in the preparation and application of spices, rubs and sauces. His students are nationally-acclaimed, award-winning chefs and most recently took Best of Show and numerous others awards at the Texas Restaurant Association Show held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. In addition to his many awards and degrees, John is also an active member of the Texas Chefs Association, and is certified as a culinary educator and executive chef. John Henry is known nationally and internationally for his culinary expertise. In 1989, John was asked to personally handle the presidential inaugural dinner. He put together a team of 19 chefs, traveled to Washington, and prepared barbeque for President Bush along with 20,000 guests attending the celebration. Later, John was asked to accompany the President to Beijing, China and prepare his barbeque.
A native of Agua Dulce, Texas [pop. 828], Will Rivera grew up eating farm-to-table before it was a 'thing.' Between his mother's adventuresome repertoire of good home cooking, and his father's ability to prepare anything that came back from a hunting trip, they ate very well, indeed -- and it was not lost on young Will. The hunting culture, and a job at a butcher shop at age seventeen, brought out his talent for butchery while he was still in high school.
Rivera trained at the Culinary Program of the Art Institute of Dallas, working simultaneously at the Gaylord Texan as a prep cook; at age nineteen, he was banquet chef of the busy resort's Old Hickory Steakhouse. Heading north to Napa after graduation, he landed at Farm at The Carneros Inn, starting in pastry plating and working his way up to lead line cook before he returned to Texas. In San Antonio, he was hired as sous chef at Lüke, where, as luck would have it, his chef de cuisine was Steve McHugh. The two former farm boys started the restaurant's charcuterie program, an effort that prepared them well for their current venture: McHugh's acclaimed restaurant, Cured, star of the Pearl Brewery complex revival, where the centerpiece of the menu is the dazzling selection of house-cured meats. While the extensive renovations for Cured were underway, Rivera gained a year's experience as tournade at the Carmel Valley Ranch on the California coast.
Will Rivera is now chef de cuisine of Cured, where his focus is management and menu development, working hand-in-hand with chef Steve McHugh to bring dishes of exceptional purity, integrity, and goodness to the San Antonio public. His favorite? "I love anything and everything we do with lamb!" he reveals. "The lamb section of our menu is constantly evolving through the seasons, and whether it's a tartare with raw quail egg on toasted brioche, or braised with a wild mushroom ragoût, it's always my top pick."