Rising Star Chef Bobby Matos of State of Grace - Biography

Houston, TX

November 2019

Growing up in Riverside, California, with a Puerto Rican father and a Polish-Italian mother meant Bobby Matos ate well. Being Raised in a family with a strong food culture led Matos to the doors of the busiest restaurant in town, where at age 15, he asked to be a dishwasher. Harboring a passion for the hospitality industry but not ready to take action just yet, Matos attended California Polytechnic State University where he completed a senior project analyzing the difference between the salaries of first-year chefs with and without culinary degrees.

He went on to earn a second degree from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and returned to Southern California to cook a hyper-seasonal, hyper-local menu at George’s at the Cove, where he found a mentor in Trey Foshee. Matos eventually tired of the West Coast and relocated to New York City to work at The Modern—mentor Gabriel Kreuther’s Michelin-star restaurant inside The Museum of Modern Art. After working with Seamus Mullen at Suba, Matos boomeranged back to California, where he gigged as a personal chef and was introduced to his future, Houston-based wife. He followed her to the Space City and worked at legendary Brennan’s of Houston as well as Ciao Bello until 2015, when empire builder Ford Fry asked him to run his new concept, gulf- and globally-influenced State of Grace. Matos stayed loyal to the Ford Fry Group, leading the kitchen at the newest Houston venture, La Lucha, specializing in fried chicken and Gulf oysters.