Chef Ben Puchowitz of Matyson - Biography

Philadelphia, PA

February 2013

As a freshman studying urban planning at Temple University, Ben Puchowitz picked up kitchen shifts to make a few bucks, working with his cousin (and future Rising Star Chef) Matt Spector at Philadelphia restaurant, Trust. And when Spector and his wife Sonjia opened Matyson with Puchowitz’s father Butch in 2003, Puchowitz continued to learn and work under his cousin as a line cook—though he still viewed cooking as a job rather than a career.

It took an ill-fated internship for a real estate company to change his mind. His first day on the job, Puchowitz was robbed at gunpoint—driving him away from his urban planning dreams to the relative safety of fire, knives, and 80-hour work weeks in the kitchen. A few days later, Spector announced that he and Sonjia were moving to Napa Valley and asked Puchowitz to take over the kitchen. With no formal training, he did just that, at first maintaining the standards Spector put in place and eventually letting the menu and concept evolve to match his own bold cooking style. In early 2013, Puchowitz will open a second restaurant and temple to noodle love, Cheu Noodle Bar.