Award-winning chef serving the best of the Garden State
As an 11-year veteran of Hilton Hotels, Executive Chef Sebastian Matheja has achieved many Hilton Corporate awards and certifications including the Spirit of Hilton Award in 2011, which is one of the highest recognition awards within the global hotel company.
Luckily for us, Chef Sebastian has brought his global culinary experience to the Meadowlands—he is now at Executive Chef of BISTRO SIX FIVE ZERO at the Hilton Hasbrouck Heights Meadowlands. But for Chef Sebastian, being located in the Garden State means easy access to quality ingredients from local farmers and suppliers so he is enhancing international flavors with homegrown ingredients.
We interviewed Chef Sebastian to understand find out more on his culinary inspirations and how he is incorporating these local ingredients in eclectic American fare.
When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
It started very early when I was about 10 or 11 years old, as I would always help my Mom and Grandma cook or bake at home when I had the chance. When I was still in school back home in Germany, I also took advantage of internships at a local hotel which made me want to become a chef even more.
What is your favorite food to eat?
Any types of seafood—from fish and crustaceans to mollusks like scallops, oysters or periwinkles—are some of my favorites
What dish do you recommend at BISTRO SIX FIVE ZERO?
I would recommend our freshly made French onion soup and being a big seafood eater I would also recommend our Atlantic scallops.
What is your favorite dish to cook and why?
To prepare and cook, it is definitely any part of the lamb. The taste is very mild and the meat has its own great flavor and texture. Prepared with a fresh lemon-thyme rub and paired with some chanterelles or porcini mushrooms, it makes a perfect dish for any occasion.
What is the inspiration behind the food that you cook?
There are many things that inspire me when coming up with new menus or dishes but just to list a few, the main ones are: traveling, going out to local restaurants, roaming around farmers markets and reading cookbooks. Having worked in different places and countries the past 11 years also gave me some great insight and inspirations from other food cultures.
I could go on and on here but the best inspiration is still just being in the kitchen and working with all the fresh ingredients and products.
What do you do to ensure the quality of the food going out to your customers?
First of all it’s very important to know where all my products come from and to get the best quality of products as possible.
Being in the “Garden State” of New Jersey, I source as many of my fruits and vegetables as possible from local suppliers and farmers. This also gives me the option to check out and visit their facilities and see how they operate and handle the products before they arrive in my kitchen. Products are checked daily before and during food preparation and the whole kitchen team is aware of our standards and quality we serve to our customers.
About Chef Sebastian
Chef Sebastian started cooking at a very young age and completed his three-year apprenticeship training in Germany at the age of 18 in 2001. His passion for food and traveling led him to assignments in Germany, London, Southern California and Saint John (Canada) before moving to Hasbrouck Heights in Summer of 2013. Sebastian has been part of Chefs for UNICEF, The Fundy Food Festival and other local fundraisers here in New Jersey.
Incorporating local ingredients where he can, Sebastian’s favorite products include fresh figs, lamb, monkfish and chanterelles. He also enjoys experimenting with molecular cuisine, having prepared such novel dishes as hot maple ice cream and goat cheese ravioli prepared in a calcium lactate bath!
“My philosophy is to use the fresh and seasonal products that are available right here in our own backyard. Being in the ‘Garden State,’ New Jersey farmers have lots of great ingredients and products to offer that I incorporate in our seasonal restaurant and banquet menus,” he says. “I’m also more than happy to work with our clients to customize and fulfill their menu needs and make sure they leave with a great dining experience.”
About BISTRO SIX FIVE ZERO
BISTRO Six Five Zero, located in the lobby of the Hilton Hasbrouck Heights Meadowlands, offers a diverse menu of Eclectic American Cuisine in a fresh setting. Located right in the lobby, bring the family or unwind in the BISTRO Lounge and sip your favorite cocktail. Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner and check out their daily specials.