For some chefs, “heirloom variety” and “farm fresh” are buzzwords reflective of today’s trends in food. For Chef Matthew Lackey, they are simply his heritage. Growing up in Castalian Springs, Tennessee, he spent his days helping on his grandfather’s farm. From feeding cattle to laying out garden beds, Matt’s earliest memories are of the most basic beginnings of food. In the evenings he settled comfortably into Cricket’s Diner, watching his grandmother cook and absorbing the social community that inevitably forms anywhere food is served. “Watching the faces of all those people, hearing their stories, that’s how I knew I’d found mine,” Matt reminisces fondly.
Straight out of high school, Chef Matt spent a year working as a line cook at a nearby country club. This experience led him to enroll at the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Even after completing this challenging program, he still wanted to learn more, so he headed to Scottsdale, Arizona, home of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Management. Matt stuck around Scottsdale to work at True Food Kitchen, a Fox Concepts restaurant with a focus on healthy, locally sourced food. There he explored creating delicious menus while working within vegetarian and Celiac dietary structures.
Ready for his next challenge, Matt headed across the country to take an unpaid internship at McCrady's in Charleston, SC. “There is no chef in the world I would rather work for than Sean Brock,” Lackey says. Matt helped Sean develop his renowned seed bank farm, with a goal of reintroducing heirloom varietals of nearly-extinct seeds. After his three month internship, Matt worked full-time as a McCrady’s line cook for a year, until Sean approached him about coming over to his newest creation, the wildly successful Husk. At Husk, Lackey says, “I never would have dreamed of being able to learn so much about farming and the importance of local and organic food. I fell more in love with food, not just with cooking, than I could even comprehend.”
Matt left Charleston in November of 2011 to work with the Flyte crew. “He quickly showed a passion not seen here before,” says Flyte co-owner Scott Atkinson. Co-owner Scott Sears affirms, “Matt has breathed new life into our menus and new energy into our restaurant. Both the staff and our loyal customers are delighted to have him aboard." Since joining Flyte as executive chef, Matt’s talent has been noticed by Food & Wine magazine, who named him among the nominees for The People’s Best New Chef. Matt’s menus are highlighted by modern techniques but focus mainly on showcasing the wealth of world-class local products available in Middle Tennessee. Chef Lackey is thrilled to be sharing all the authenticity of his home state with enthusiastic diners from Nashville and beyond.
"Sourcing locally isn’t about a trend for me. It’s about attaining the highest quality ingredients for a given location. I really believe the food in a restaurant should be a reflection of the restaurant’s region, not the other way around."
Chef Mike Moranski has risen through the ranks of the Flyte crew to become our Sous Chef, and we couldn't be happier about it. Mike started his culinary career early, washing dishes and doing prep work in his hometown of Battleboro, Vermont, before getting a position as a line cook in high school. He moved to Burlington to study philosophy at the University of Vermont but continued to work with food. His course of study set him up to think carefully about the life he wanted to live and the kind of work that would bring fulfillment, and Mike decided to pursue cooking full time.
After paying his dues at restaurants throughout New England, Mike moved to Jackson, Wyoming, to become chef de cuisine at a small resort restaurant. After two seasons in Wyoming, he made the move further west to Sonoma County, California, and was the sous chef at Restaurant P/30 in Sebastopol, where the focus was quality ingredients served in a decidedly unstuffy setting. Most of the ingredients were either plucked from the garden behind the restaurant or traveled just a few miles from a nearby farm. Restaurant P/30 won best New American restaurant in the 2010 Baylist and gained a following in the Bay Area. Chef Moranski gained an understanding of what makes a great restaurant: an appreciation for quality ingredients and strong relationships with local farmers.
A desire to be closer to family spurred Chef Moranski's move to Nashville, and shortly thereafter his family grew to include the crew at Flyte. He felt at home at Flyte right away; the relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere reminded him of P/30, and he connected with Executive Chef Matthew Lackey and the ingredient-driven philosophy of the kitchen.
Chef Tony Galzin was born and raised in the fertile culinary ground of Chicago, IL. Half Italian and half Lithuanian in heritage, Tony was exposed to the rustic and traditional cooking of his grandparents. Every Sunday evening his family's activities revolved around cooking and communal dining. He graduated from from Columbia College with a bachelor's degree in communications before settling on a career in a professional kitchen. Realizing Chicago was one of the nation's premier dining destinations, full of talented chefs from whom he could learn, Tony decided to forgo culinary school.
Tony's first mentor would be Chef Dale Levitski at Trio Atelier in Evanston, IL. Despite having little kitchen experience outside his family's cooking, Tony learned quickly, benefiting from Dale's quirky, soulful cuisine. Midway through Tony's time at Trio Atelier he began working in the pastry department as the assistant to Chef Mary McMahon. Chicago Magazine would name Trio Atelier as one of the best new restaurants in Chicago, and Chef McMahon received the Jean Banchet Award "Rising Star Pastry Chef" of 2005. This experience would be the basis of Tony's culinary training.
During the next several years Chef Galzin worked at some of the most acclaimed restaurants in Chicago including a stint a Naha (one Michelin star and James Beard recipient,) as pastry assistant to Elizabeth Dahl, and as sous chef for Guiseppe Tentori and Ryan Poli at Perennial (Michelin bib-gourmand winner.)
For the the four years previous to his arrival at Flyte, Chef Galzin was the pastry chef at mk the restaurant, for chef/owner Michael Kornick. During his tenure at mk, Tony honed his technical yet approachable cooking style and became one of the premier pastry chefs in Chicago. During Tony's tenure, mk maintained 3 stars from the Chicago Tribune, Sun Times, Chicago Magazine, and earned a coveted Michelin recommendation. In fact, two of Galzin's desserts were mentioned by name in the inaugural Chicago Michelin guide.
While at mk, Tony also was invited to join the Junior Board of Directors for Chicago's Green City Market, where he was the co-chair of the events committee. He coordinated several outreach activities and fundraisers to help raise the awareness and importance of sustainable farming practices.
Tony and his wife Caroline decided to move to Nashville to join the burgeoning food scene in July 2012 and he is excited to bring his culinary experience to Flyte!