Athlete Feature – Chef Matt Part I
We promised features of awesome people from every walk of life. Meet Matt. He certainly doesn’t disappoint in any way. As a Professional Chef he works ever-changing hours, tireless and sometimes thankless services and in between prep and service, Matt has many tools he has personally developed and uses to stay centered, happy and fit. From herding goats and playing with permaculture techniques, to foraging his own food, and from publishing a book to adventuring/surfing/bouldering and running, Matt has a myriad of different experiences he kindly shares with us and now with you.
Matt gave us a lot to run with so we will be breaking it up into multiple parts! **Fade in to the world of Chef Matt**
First, Give us a little background about yourself…
My name is Matt Dulin. I’ve tried many paths in life and feel that in my life I’ll still see many more. I’ve found myself living on a goat farm in New Mexico, herding goats while wearing a white sheet around my body as the sun was setting in the desert, laughing at how ridiculous life can get. I’ve been twirled around under unbelievably intense ocean waves in Hawaii while learning to surf, wondering if life would continue after the
moment. I tried to run 100 miles through the mountains of Colorado once, without really knowing what I was in for or what I was doing. After making it 73 miles on foot in 20 hours I decided that that was enough for me. I’ve experienced living as best as I could, I’ve experienced many deaths during it’s process. Literally and figuratively. I push myself to create the world I wish to be in and I’m inspired by those who do similarly. I’m a firm believer that everything is amazing. But really though, everything.
What is your Profession?
I’m a chef by profession (currently at Coppa Cafe in Flagstaff, AZ) but my interests in life are within a very broad spectrum. I’ve been cooking for 12 years now. Working with food has been the one thing that I’ve stuck with throughout my travels and life transitions. Whether it’s cooking it, growing it or searching for wild foods in the forest, it’s always on my mind. It hasn’t always been a healthy career path and for a while I resisted the thought of life as a cook. However there was a certain point when I realized I was getting pretty good at what I was doing for a living, and I could always make some money when I needed it, wherever I was. I found that my creative side was nurtured as well as my desire to bring happiness to others through cooking.
Being a fan of philosophy, I started analyzing the constant handling of uncontrollable variables within the kitchen and realized it started to sound a lot like life. I started to shift my ideas on how I could create a healthy and balanced life within the constant upheaval and orchestrated chaos of the professional kitchen.
Cooking is a constant sensory investigation. I was able to immerse myself into the present moment even in the most intense situations. Touch, sight, smell, hearing, tasting every moment, each time different, each time noticing the changes, each time adapting, each time enjoying, then letting go so I can properly assess the next moment. I started to realize that everything was connected. Life began to sound to me like a jazz song. I was able to relate the lack of control in any given situation within the kitchen, regardless of the preparation and discipline, to the inability to control the flow of life. I started seeing how every moment there is a lesson within what’s going on. A teaching for how life happens, and how to dig deep when the struggle seems unmanageable. Through a steady pace, and remembering to breathe through it all, I’ve been able to achieve some of my most ridiculous life goals and dreams.
More on Matt’s cooking here
What does fitness mean in your Profession?
Fitness in my profession translates as the ability to maintain a station within the kitchen. However, physical fitness
outside of most restaurants is overlooked or simply there’s just no time for anything else. As one leaves work for the night and realizes they need to return in less than 8 hours to begin their work again, a run or trip to the gym isn’t usually the first move on someone’s list. To me fitness gives me the discipline to complete my tasks. Even if it means losing an hour of sleep to make it happen, I find that any physical practice
helps. It clears my mind and strengthens my focus. Unfortunately most cooks use substances to release from their day and find themselves weakened and unable to perform at their highest potential. Needing to counter the next day with ridiculous amounts of stimulants usually in the form of coffee and energy drinks. It is however extremely hard to manage life as a professional cook so I observe these happenings with compassion. We spend too many hours inside of crazy environments and can lose track of life a bit. Restaurant workers could definitely benefit from some health based practices in their lives.
Do you eat a certain way or follow a particular nutrition plan?
I don’t follow any guidelines for eating. As a chef and cook I am always open to eat the food that is given to me. I don’t enjoy eating food that was prepared by someone who doesn’t care. People don’t realize how much they impact the world with negative outlooks on life. When a disgruntled cook serves me a terrible meal, I’m upset by their action. Disappointed at the lack of commitment to actually try in life, but I’m learning how to channel that positively and have compassion for their process, however in the moment I usually want to throw the food at their face and ask them if they even tasted it themselves.
Sorry I can get caught in a rant sometimes. Its funny though, right? I’m only human.
As far as eating goes, I’m mostly vegetarian. I eat a lot of eggs and enjoy fish. I feel like meat is over-consumed and poorly prepared in most restaurants so I stick to beans and rice kind of staples. I feel like if they can’t cook beans and rice well, there’s no point in trying the meats. Quality meat is meant to be enjoyed, celebrated, but I don’t feel it’s necessary for everyday consumption or as the foundation of a healthy diet, it is a beautiful supplement. Pertaining to fitness I shoot for timing. I’ll try to eat a few hours before any sort of workout so it can be digested fully and I’m not struggling with indigestion or feeling sluggish while digesting. For the type of activity I do I actually feel the most energized by a salad and a bit of carbs, usually from a few bites of sourdough bread I bake each week. I’ll have some green tea or coffee about 30 minutes before the workout if I’m feeling a bit sluggish or if I want to push it a bit harder that day. Afterwards I’ll try to eat a good source of protein and carbohydrates within an hour of the workout. Also drinking lots of water afterwards. My favorite post workout meal is a sushi roll and a kombucha.
We will have some more from Matt next week but until then we will just let you chew on what he’s laid out for us so far…