2019 New York Rising Star Chef Matt Conroy of Oxomoco

2019 New York Rising Star Chef Matt Conroy of Oxomoco
January 2019

Originally from Boston, Matt Conroy always had jobs as a kid—from running a paper route to washing dishes at local diners. At 15, he spent most of his free time in the kitchens of local Massachusetts restaurants. As a short order cook throughout high school, he learned speed, organization, and how to work as part of a team.  

Passionate about cooking but unable to afford culinary school, he continued learning the trade on the job. By 22, he was sous chef of Verde, a popular restaurant in the ski town of Stratton, Vermont, where he worked with local produce and experienced whole animal butchery.

After three years in Vermont, Conroy moved to Boston to work for Chef Tony Maws at Craigie on Main, absorbing Maw’s fierce discipline and attention to detail. In 2012, Conroy moved to New York to join Alex Stupak’s Empell├│n Cocina—his first and fortuitous deep-dive into Mexican cuisine. Next, Conroy served as executive chef of the French bistro Little Prince for five years and then helmed Virginia’s, a neighborhood spot in the East Village. In 2018, he opened the project that spoke to his soul, Oxomoco, alongside Chef Justin Bazdarich, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. There, he’s serves modern, wood-fired Mexican cuisine. 

At the heart of Oxomoco is corn, which Conroy sources from small farmers across Mexico and nixtamalizes in house for masa that goes into tortillas, tostadas, and tamales. He’s more interested in staying true to the Mexican pantry than recipes, putting his own interpretation on the cuisine he loves.