Hot Chef: Between Cheu and Matyson, Ben Puchowitz is a busy man

Ben Puchowitz went from being a cook to head chef.
Ben Puchowitz went from being a cook to head chef.

Ben Puchowitz hadn’t always planned on becoming a chef, but now he’s one of the hottest in town. While going to school at Temple, Puchowitz started working at his family’s restaurant, the upscale Matyson. When his cousin, the restaurant’s co-founder, left for the West Coast, Puchowitz took the reins to the kitchen. Earlier this year, he and his buddy Shawn Darragh got experimental and opened Cheu Noodle Bar.

How are things going at Cheu? 

Cheu’s going great. We’re really busy and everything feels more organized. In the beginning it was real tough. I never opened a restaurant before — it was chaos. It took a while but we figured it out.

How do you split up your time between Cheu and Matyson?

I do six days at Cheu and one at Matyson.

Yikes. What do you do when you get a day off? Laundry?

I’m going to New York, and I’m going to eat at Ivan Ramen. Other than that I like to chill out, play guitar, listen to music and eat noodles. One of my cooks gave me a day off the other week. Yeah, I did laundry, hung around, read some books.

You read cookbooks pretty regularly, right?

Yeah, I read a lot of cookbooks. It’s really important for me to know what’s going on in food outside of Philly. I got into the business in a way that wasn’t traditional. I went from cook to head chef. I wish I kind of did it differently. If I went to school I would have learned a lot more – everything would’ve been easier. Or learning under a bunch of chefs and seeing what they do. I only had one mentor and that was my cousin Matt. But the whole time I was working for him I wasn’t planning on becoming a chef.

Do you have a favorite ingredient?

It changes a lot. I would say right now I like white soy. It’s a more pungent soy sauce. And I like fermented things and the sourness you get from that. All the dishes at Cheu have something fermented in them.

Cheu just won the So Hot Right Now award from Eater Philly. How important is that for Cheu?

It’s kind of important. I had big dreams for this place when we opened. I see all these places doing the style that we’re doing and opening up in New York and L.A. They’ve opened to huge praise. I was hoping to get the same response. I try really hard with everything I do. I think it’s what you need to do, as a chef or not.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…