2010 Chef of the Year: Matthew Porco

Porco, a self-described protein lover, is passionate about correctly preparing meat—whether it’s leaving short ribs or Amish chicken on the bone after cooking to bring out the best flavor or making sure duck is cooked until the skin is perfectly crispy.



Chef of the Year

MATTHEW PORCO

P art of what makes a great chef is having confidence in your vision, and Matthew Porco, executive chef and owner of Mio Kitchen and Wine Bar, has that in spades.

“My philosophy is to develop recipes and menu concepts that create continuity,” he says. “In general, cooks are artistic to some degree, but we’re also very methodical, which is why I want ingredients on the line to be in the same exact order every day. Inconsistency comes with things changing around too much.”

Porco, a self-described protein lover, is passionate about correctly preparing meat—whether it’s leaving short ribs or Amish chicken on the bone after cooking to bring out the best flavor or making sure duck is cooked until the skin is perfectly crispy. In keeping with his initial plan to create a wine-driven restaurant, these and other dishes—rich in flavor but without a surplus of overpowering ingredients—easily pair with wine.

Offering about 170 bottles and 20 to 25 wines by the glass, Mio is a great spot for experimental sipping, and the staff is knowledgeable and encourages creative pairings. Porco’s days are filled not just with cooking but also sourcing the best ingredients possible, whether from Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance or from a friend from high school (Porco grew up in Aspinwall) who’s now growing organic vegetables and herbs specifically for the restaurant.

His partnership with local pastry chef Barbara Ferguson has yielded a terrific dessert menu, which dovetails with the menu’s sensibility in such dishes as a brownie sundae with salted caramel ice cream, banana sorbet, hot-fudge sauce and glazed peanuts.

Ever ambitious, Porco has spent part of this year developing a new concept for an old-school New York-style pizzeria (takeout and delivery only); it’s scheduled to open this month just a stone’s throw from his restaurant. Ultimately, Porco says his goal in having a restaurant is simple: “I want people to look at the menu and have their eyes get big because so many things look good—and then come back again and again because they taste as good as they look,” he says. Our vote says “mission accomplished.”

Mio Kitchen & Wine Bar: 225 Commercial Ave., Aspinwall; 412/781-3141, mio-pgh.com.
 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Bucket List: 25 Don't-Miss Experiences for the Yinzer in All of Us

Bucket List: 25 Don't-Miss Experiences for the Yinzer in All of Us

You'll have to work hard to make it through the 'Burgh Bucket List — but every entry is more than worth the effort.
Finally Home: How Pittsburgh Won Over Troy Polamalu

Finally Home: How Pittsburgh Won Over Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu came to Pittsburgh craving the California sun. Nearly a dozen years later, he shares a rare glimpse of the relationships he developed here — with his God, the Steelers Nation and the city he and his family now call home. One thing is certain: he never wants to leave.
Granting the Perfect Wish

Granting the Perfect Wish

By fulfilling the wish of a 12-year-old boy, PittGirl learns that you don't always need a lot of money to grant the perfect wish.
Men's Winter Fashion: Season for Swagger

Men's Winter Fashion: Season for Swagger

Try an updated take on traditional trends with these winter must-haves for men.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Two Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

Two Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

A Murrysville security company plans to install the new cameras, which should provide high-definition of the Hays eagles.
Pittsburgh Offers Free Holiday Parking

Pittsburgh Offers Free Holiday Parking

The city hopes that offering free parking to shoppers on some of the busiest commercial days of the year will give small businesses a lift.
Photo Gallery: Andy Warhol Bridge Yarn Bombing Wins Public Art Award

Photo Gallery: Andy Warhol Bridge Yarn Bombing Wins Public Art Award

The bridge was covered in more than 3,000 feet of colorful, hand-knit blankets in honor of the late pop artist’s 85th birthday.
Pittsburgh-Area Native Advances to Next Round on ‘The Voice’

Pittsburgh-Area Native Advances to Next Round on ‘The Voice’

Chris Jamison, 20, of Ross Township, is a 2012 graduate of North Hills High School.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Bucket List: 25 Don't-Miss Experiences for the Yinzer in All of Us

Bucket List: 25 Don't-Miss Experiences for the Yinzer in All of Us

You'll have to work hard to make it through the 'Burgh Bucket List — but every entry is more than worth the effort.
Finally Home: How Pittsburgh Won Over Troy Polamalu

Finally Home: How Pittsburgh Won Over Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu came to Pittsburgh craving the California sun. Nearly a dozen years later, he shares a rare glimpse of the relationships he developed here — with his God, the Steelers Nation and the city he and his family now call home. One thing is certain: he never wants to leave.
Granting the Perfect Wish

Granting the Perfect Wish

By fulfilling the wish of a 12-year-old boy, PittGirl learns that you don't always need a lot of money to grant the perfect wish.
Men's Winter Fashion: Season for Swagger

Men's Winter Fashion: Season for Swagger

Try an updated take on traditional trends with these winter must-haves for men.
Review: Eighty Acres Kitchen & Bar

Review: Eighty Acres Kitchen & Bar

Farm-to-table restaurant Eighty Acres brings food prepared with finesse to Plum.
Pittsburgh's Top 10: November 2014

Pittsburgh's Top 10: November 2014

Here are the 10 best things to do in Pittsburgh this month.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags