Celebrating Our People: MATTHEW ALSTON
The “Celebrating Our People” series is aimed at highlighting the many talented employees that make up Proof of the Pudding’s teams across the southeast. We hope you enjoy learning more about our hospitality and culinary POPstars!
Executive Chef, Trident Provisions at Duke University
POP: Hi Chef – thank you so much for taking some time to chat today. To start, what’s the one piece of advice you would share with others at the beginning of their career?
MATTHEW: Observe, ask questions and learn from others. Spend time observing to find what works and what doesn’t, then use what you learn to become better at what you do.
POP: What values have shaped your life?
MATTHEW: My parents instilled in me to always strive to give my best effort at anything that I am doing and to have patience with others.
POP: What was your favorite meal as a kid growing up?
MATTHEW: One of my favorite things to eat as a child was grilled cheese sandwiches.
POP: Who has influenced you the most (in life and/or your career)?
MATTHEW: My mentor Chef Terence Tomlin. He’s taught me a lot about responsibility, loyalty, overcoming adversity and professionalism.
POP: What is your favorite song lyric or inspirational quote?
MATTHEW: “You can have results or excuses – not both.”
When I first heard this quote I disliked it because I was asking for the tools I needed to do my job and this was the answer I received. I’ve since then come to understand that I am responsible for my own success and challenges are a part of growth.
POP: What are some things that people would be surprised to learn about you?
MATTHEW: I enjoy going to concerts and have seen a lot of bands. My first concert was at 17 – I saw Billy Idol and Faith No More.