Summer Ramen Series Finale with Matt Hoa
“I want to sell out.”
That was Chef Angela Hernandez’s last request before the Top Knot front of house dispersed following their pre-shift meeting. To chef’s delight, by 9PM Monday night, the Summer Ramen Series finale Tokyo Shoyu ramen was gone. “86 RAMEN” was heard loudly and proudly from the kitchen. The team took a brief moment away from the action to embrace in celebration. Then it was back to work.
For the final event in a series of three, Top Knot Chef de Cuisine Angela Hernandez teamed up with chef Matt Hoa of TEN Ramen. They collaborated over a steaming bowl of whole wheat noodles, shoyu broth, brisket, pickeled shisito peppers, red onion, and cabbage. “Texas ramen,” Chef Matt called it. The broth was thick with a slight sweet and spicy tang, reminiscent of BBQ sauce. BrainDead Brewing’s Cream Ale was offered as an accompanying promotion, all benefiting No Kid Hungry.
Chef Hoa is at the helm of the West Dallas noodle gem, TEN Ramen. Which, is not where he ever thought he would be. After chatting with Chef Matt while he signed limited edition menus, I learned that he found cooking while studying pre-med. He began working as a sushi chef in a local shop during college. (Coincidentally, along side a sushi chef who now calls Uchi Dallas home.) After leaving school and going full time for some years, he decided it was time to take his career to the next level. During his search, he found that Tei An was hiring. Specifically, Teiichi Sakurai was looking for an apprentice.
Hoa would be asked to forget what he had learned and open his mind to Sakurai’s ways. After three years of hard work and dedication, a new opportunity unfolded. TEN Ramen. Sakurai brought in many candidates during his search for the right executive chef. At the end of the day, Hoa was the man for the job. He as named executive chef and hasn’t looked back. In March of 2015, TEN Ramen opened their doors. Since then, the standing-room only noodle shop has amassed a loyal following of ramen enthusiast.
Wanting to get to know Chef Matt outside of the kitchen, I asked him to share some fun facts with us. Here is what he had to say:
- During his college days, he was the member of a fraternity. He also wore large, thick frame glasses which earned him the nick name, ‘Urkel’. As in Steve Urkel.
- He’s Cambodian! And very proud of that. One of the ways he honors his culture is in the kitchen at home. Particularly there is a certain recipe for a hot sweet and sour soup he loves to enjoy.
- Ask him anything about Friends. He’s seen every episode of the popular of the 90’s sitcom at least 10 times.
That’s all for the Summer Ramen Series! Thanks for all your support. Stay tuned for information on our next pop up series coming Fall ’16.