Matthew Fisher Redington
Matthew Fisher Redington, 40, died unexpectedly on January 11 in New York City. He is the son of Thomas Redington of Colebrook, CT and Joan Kingsley, who predeceased him.
Matt worked at some of the most ground-breaking and environmentally friendly high-quality restaurants in the US. He enlivened three-star and four-star restaurants with his culinary creativity and skills, working around the country with noted chefs including Christian Bertrand, Jean-George Vongerichten, Todd English, and Michel Nischan.
Matt began his career apprenticing at Acqua in Westport, CT under the watchful eye of Christian Bertrand, who had just finished an 11-year stint as chef de cuisine at Lutece in Manhattan, helping Andre Soltner build it into one of the country’s most acclaimed and iconic emporiums of fine dining.
Chef Bertrand, a deeply trained fundamentalist in French cuisine who had earlier served as personal chef to French President Charles de Gaulle, was instrumental in turning his newest protégé’s budding interest in food into a lifelong passion.
At age 19, on Chef Bertrand’s personal recommendation, Matt was the youngest person offered a spot in the Advanced Placement Program at the New England Culinary Institute where he earned his degree in Culinary Arts. Upon graduation, he went to New York to work at Jean-Georges’ four-star flagship restaurant in One Central Park West, initially preparing dinnertime amuse bouchées on his way to becoming sous chef.
Matt extended his culinary range by taking on an assignment as head chef at Ken Oringer’s Boston restaurant Clio and then returned to New York as executive sous chef at Jean-Georges’ Spice Market. He then went on to co-create Tengda, an Asian-fusion bistro in Greenwich which earned three stars from The New York Times.
Returning to Westport where he grew up, he joined Michel Nischan to create the menu and open The Dressing Room, Paul Newman’s pioneering farm-to-table restaurant in Playhouse Square. He went on to relaunch the fine dining restaurant at the Sanderling Resort on the Outer Banks in Duck, NC.
More recently Matt ran a restaurant consultancy, creating culinary themes, concepts, and menus for new and re-launched restaurants in New York and Connecticut, providing a turn-key service to established and aspiring restaurateurs.
When it came time for the menu planning part of his work, he took paper and pen in hand and drew fully plated dishes free hand as if he were tracing a photo, captioning each component with enticing, menu-rich descriptors. He detailed the recipe for each component with exact measurements and prep notes, knowing that when made, it would have the precise taste and texture he envisioned.
When not hard by the flame or conceptualizing new food ideas, Matt enjoyed yoga, snowboarding, and indulged in his passion of innovative art and graphics. His enthusiasm was inspiring, his laugh was contagious, and he especially enjoyed time with his three young nieces. He had a reverence for all living things; his heart was sensitive and big.
In addition to his father, Matt is survived by Jessica Redington-Jones of Taylors, SC, his sister, and her three daughters, Julian, Reese, and Harper, and by seven aunts: Leyla Anderson, Molly Hawthorne, Nancy Ayre, Deborah Imse, Becky Redington, Barbara Kingsley, and Janet Kingsley; and six uncles: Rey Redington, Richard Anderson, Hayden Hawthorne, Jon Ayre, Peter Imse, and Peter Kingsley, and numerous cousins.
A memorial celebration of Matt’s life will be held at a later date. Friends may wish to consider donations to The New England Culinary Institute Scholarship Fund, 7 School Street, Montpelier, VT 05602-3115