Uptowne Café | September 9th – Chef Matt Welsch – Bio
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September 9th – Chef Matt Welsch – Bio

Chef Matt Welsch

I was born and raised in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. From a young age I was gripped with a powerful curiosity and wanderlust. Straight out of high school I moved to nearby Pittsburgh, PA enrolling in art school. I began to travel further and further from home. After a few years in Pittsburgh, I returned to the Wheeling area and enrolled in West Liberty University. Here I began my cooking career and continued to seek out travel opportunities. By thumb, by car, train, and airplane I kept expanding my reach. After I graduated from WLU, I worked for a while in the Canaan Valley area of WV, and I crossed the big pond for the first time. After two years teaching wilderness therapy in Canaan, I was out of debt for my school and my life as a vagabond really began. I’ve traveled througuout our country extensively, spending time in Chicago, Utah, Idaho, California, and Arizona, as well as traveled abroad to Ireland, England, Germany, the Dominican Republic, and Japan. Throughout my travels, I often relied upon my skills in the kitchen to catch me once I expended the meager savings that kept me on the road.

In late 2008 I moved to Idaho and ended up working at a cross-country ski lodge North of the Sun Valley area called Galena Lodge. It was here that my opportunities driving a knife really became apparent to me. As the Sous there I was able to learn and grow in exciting ways, however, after several years I felt like it was time to move on. That’s when I began the Vagabond Chef project. In 2013 I rode my motorcycle over 13k miles and visited over 60 different restaurants and culinary communities. At the end of that very exciting year, I moved back home to the Northern Panhandle bringing with my my lessons and experiences both within the kitchen and without. In June of 2014 I opened my first restaurant called Vagabond Kitchen, and since then I’ve worked to bring new cuisine to the area and add my voice to the chorus of folks looking to revitalize both my hometown area and state.

At Vagabond Kitchen we do Handcrafted Food Rooted in Local Community. We utilize the best and most local products available and look to make high quality food focusing on food I’ve seen in my travels, twists on local favorites, and Appalachian regional cuisine that may folks may have only a dim memory of from their childhood. Additionally, I look to get back on the road, exploring and meeting people again. I aim to run a successful business, take care of my employees and community, and bring folks in from near and far to enjoy our grub and the beauty of our area.

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