Chef Matt Finarelli actually started out his career as the Webmaster and Online Marketing Specialist for World Wildlife Fund (WWF), not as a chef. But the passion of cooking was always in him, and it led him to teach a small class on Northern Italian cooking for Fairfax County. The teaching of cooking was so much fun for him, he knew he had to make a career out of this. So he started attending culinary school at night at Stratford University in Falls Church, VA. When school was complete, he took the plunge to become a full-time chef, starting over at the bottom and working his way up in local kitchens, including Café Tirolo in Ballston, Restaurant Vero in Arlington and Rustico Restaurant in Alexandria.

It was when he began working at Open Kitchen in Falls Church as their original Sous Chef and Kitchen Manager that he started teaching cooking classes once again in their classroom. He loved being back in front of classes, so he changed careers again and became a full-time independent culinary instructor. He is a very popular instructor in the DC area teaching private classes in people’s homes and at local culinary venues. Having taught over 3,000 students in the area, he recently published his first cookbook, “Beyond the Red Sauce: Classic Italian Cooking Without Tomatoes,” hoping to share some of his favorite recipes with his students – even when they can’t be in his classes.