Worker Spotlight: Matthew Sears

1. What is your position and what do you do at Black Star?

I work in the kitchen. We kind all kind of switch up and cover difference roles, but I do a lot of
line work and some specials.

2. How long have you been cooking and where?

I’ve been cooking for about 6-7 years in different places around town. I heard about Black Star
from Jeff (former Black Star head chef) and thought it sounded interesting with the structure of
the coop and way everyone gets to contribute.

3. Where are you from?

I spent time as a kid in Oceanside, CA, but I was kind of an “army brat” and lived in a lot of

4. How long have you been in Austin, and what is one of your favorite places or things about living

I came to Austin 2007 and studied Photography and Communications at St. Edwards. I played in
a couple bands and eventually found an interest in the food scene. It really seemed to blend my
artistic interests and the more I got into it the more I kind of fell in love with it.

5. What do you enjoy about Black Star Co-op?

Great beer and how the whole vibe aligns with my values. I’ve worked in all types of
restaurants, and I really like the co-op model here at Black Star. I heard about the coop from
Jeff, who told me about how the kitchen team runs things and it sounded interesting, with a lot
of opportunity for real contribution and making a mark.

6. What’s one fun or unusual thing about working at Black Star that is different from other jobs you

If you have something to say you have a voice and a chance to raise your idea or suggestion.
You get a chance to exercise autonomy and to give feedback on how things are working. That’s
unusual in the industry. If you want to do something different, then hey, make a proposal and
bring it up with the team.

7. Do you have a favorite house beer?

I’d say right now Self Esteem or Midtown, also Roze Sap when we have it. My preferences have
changed over time and I still enjoy a wide variety of beers, but tend toward the lighter styles at
the moment.

8. What do you do outside of work with your free time? (Or what do you imagine yourself doing if
pandemic restrictions weren’t still in place?)

I  like to play music and eventually I’d like to do some recording. I play the guitar, as well as
some bass and piano. I also enjoy playing video games. One of my recent favorites is Dark
Souls. There’s a new game coming out from the same publisher that I’m looking forward to
playing called Elden Ring, which was produced in collaboration with George R.R. Martin, the
creator of Game of Thrones. It looks incredible, with fantastic world building and characters.

9. If you could snap your fingers and become an expert at something, what would it be?

I’d really like to become an expert in the Japanese art of butchering yakitori style. There is just a
really interesting and different approach to the way they will cut up, say a chicken, that
produces these really efficient and flavorful cuts with very little waste. It’s a different approach
than a traditional western method for butchery.
I’ve had a longtime interest in both the food and the culture of Japan and would love to travel
there one day. Some of my favorite places in town to get my food fix are Tatsu-Ya and Michi
Ramen. There is also a really great ramen place called Ramen 512 that started as a pop-up but
now has a physical location.

10. Any Last words to the co-op members?

Look forward to more good stuff from the kitchen! As things get more and more stable with the
pandemic business and staffing, I think we will have more interesting things. For instance, the
Basque-style cheesecake that we had recently was my idea and it seems to have gotten a good
reception from the members and customers, which has been gratifying.
Also, if you have feedback for us, let us know. We are always interested to hear from our
members about what they are enjoying or would like to see. We have a lot of good ideas, and
hopefully we can start exploring some of them as things continue to pick up.