Rising Star Chef Matt Jennings of Farmstead Inc. - Biography

Providence, RI

March 2014

Born and raised in Boston, Matt Jennings grew up fi shing with his stepdad off the coast of New England—with the duo ritually roasting their catch whole and slathering it with homemade sriracha. His stepfather passed away in 2013, but the love for product Jennings learned in those years has defi ned him as a chef. After attending the New England Culinary Institute, Jennings joined Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge and met his wife, Pastry Chef Kate Jennings. Together they launched Farmstead, Inc. in Providence, Rhode Island, which began as cheese shop in 2003 and expanded to include a full-fl edged restaurant in 2006. He won a StarChefs Rising Stars Award for his work in 2014.

The next year, the couple moved back to Boston and opened Townsman, whose seasonal American cuisine received lavish praise, including placement in Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants in America,” USA Today’s “10 Best New Restaurants,” and Food & Wine’s “10 Best Restaurants of the Year.” Jennings was also nominated for James Beard’s “Best Chef, Northeast” in 2011, 2012, and 2014. In 2017, Jennings and co-author Jessica Battilana wrote Homegrown: Cooking from My New England Roots, which was nominated for the James Beard Award for “Best American Cookbook.”

In 2016, Jennings made a huge lifestyle change and lost 160 pounds after gastric sleeve surgery. He announced the closing of Townsman in July 2018 so he could launch Full Heart Hospitality, a culinary consulting agency focused on culture and people and fueled by bringing wellness to the restaurant business.