My name’s Matthew Greiner, and I’m from Iowa City, Iowa. I studied Culinary Arts at Kirkwood Community where I graduated and also finished the Master in Italian Cuisine at AUF.
When did you study at AUF?
Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. Fortunately for myself, I am still living in Florence where I’m currently working at a new restaurant, Nugolo #pastalovers. The first time that I came to Florence was the summer of 2017, and I remember I wanted to learn and see how Italians make fresh pasta. Also, I knew the way Italian food was portrayed back home wasn’t a real representation of how pasta and other Italian dishes truly are meant to be.
Why did you choose to study at AUF?
It was the first year Kirkwood students were invited to come take classes at Apicius. During my last semester of culinary school in Iowa I really wanted to see something new, a new culture, a new cuisine known around the world. It was exciting. Also, I really love pasta!
What did you do at AUF that helped you in your career and/or in your personal growth? In which way studying abroad at AUF changed your life/ professional path/career?
My program really pushed me every day to think and develop a new approach to food. The chefs at Apicius and Fedora have an immense amount of knowledge, there wasn’t a day that went by when they didn’t have an answer to a question. While I was in the program, several chefs had approached me about finding a job, and the hard part was the Italian language. I went to several restaurants around the city, but no one was interested. Then school ended, and I gave myself an extra month to see if anything would come up. After a few weeks, Chef Massimo Bocus put me in touch with several young chefs who were looking to open a restaurant, Nugolo. I had gone to meet with them, and they’d said that they would be in touch. A day later I got a message, “In two hours we are going to the owner’s house to cook, if you are interested think about 2 dishes you would like to eat for lunch and come cook them for us.” Eight months later, in November, we opened the restaurant. Without the reference from Chef Bocus or the other chef faculty members encouraging me, I would for sure be back home now.
Have you traveled with AUF? How was it?
We took several trips to see various food producers from dried pasta to cured meats, wine, and cheese. Seeing these productions is a very helpful insight to the process of using traditional ingredients in cooking.
What are your favorite AUF memories? Being from the middle of the US, I never imagined meeting people from around the world and developing strong friendships with my classmates from Brazil, to Israel, Macau, and Taiwan. I have learned a lot from my classmates and I wish to cook with them all again one day.
Are you still friend/in contact with someone you have met at AUF?
Yes, with all of my classmates.
If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad at AUF, what would you say?
If you are looking for a challenge your mind and to think about food in many new ways, then this is a place I would recommend to take classes. I wouldn’t need 60 seconds, being the number 7 culinary school in the world speaks for itself. As I had previously stated, the chefs have an immense amount of knowledge. Masters of the culinary world, true geniuses.
Describe your AUF experience with a word.
Challenging, fun, exciting.
What are your plans for the future?
I have signed a contract at Nugolo for the next 3 years. After this I am not sure where food will take me, as I am a person who enjoys focusing on the moment and not worry about what is my next chapter, as nothing usually happens as planned. I would like to thank the chefs at Apicius for challenging me day in and day out, for there is something new to learn everyday.