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

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Local

NYPD: Suspect dead after two U.S. Marshals, cop…

A suspected sex offender died after a shooting at a West Village smoke shop that wounded two U.S. Marshals and an NYPD detective on Monday, officials said.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

Entertainment

'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' game easter eggs and cheats

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. Here are its best easter eggs as well as some tips and tricks to speed your way to the top.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.

Food

Zagat releases '30 Under 30' list

Zagat releases a list of the people changing the food and drink industry across the country.