Local chef sells crab cakes to provide for granddaughter

Local chef sells crab cakes to provide for granddaughter

BEL AIR, Md. — Looking at one of Chef Mike Matassa's crab cakes, it may just look like a delicious meal, but him it looks like a 529 plan or a 401K plan.

"I have been making crab cakes for over 30 years," said Matassa. "Everytime I get my hands in that mix and I make it, it's for a better and higher purpose."

The man who ran Fusion Grill in Fallston, Alchemy in Baltimore, and now Bel Air has a new business -- raising his granddaughter.

His daughter overdosed twice. She is okay and seeking help, but he took over sole custody of his granddaughter a year ago. And in the world up peaks and valleys in the restaurant business, he needed more help.

So, Chef Matassa started selling his prized crab cakes on-line. This will support raising his granddaughter.

"I'm 56-years-old, you know I never expected to raise a child, but she has adapted really really well. She is part of our life, she will always be part of our life," Matassa said while holding back tears.

So now this little girl will watch the man she loves, create love through a crab cake.

"I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay with my grandfather. The whole focus now when I'm making any food in a restaurant, or anything, is just thinking about my past, my childhood growing up and giving her the same opportunities and giving her the same chances," said Matassa. "That is what has to happen. There is no other option here."

Since opening up about the struggles of drug abuse, other customers have shared similar stories. It’s amazing how a crab cake can bring a community together.

If you want to learn more or buy some of Matassa's crab cakes, click here.

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Cocktail: Alchemy Elements

528 Baltimore Pike, Bel Air. 443-371-7513. alchemyelements.com

Alchemy Elements, a Bel Air hotspot since its opening in 2015, takes menu creativity and seasonality very seriously.

Because everything from the kitchen is made from scratch, the staff knows exactly what’s in each dish and can help vegetarians and vegans navigate the menu. Diners looking for meat-free dishes have several choices, including an eye-popping vegetable board and a seasonal entree of acorn squash stuffed with ancient grains and seasonal vegetables. The squash dish is “hearty and substantial,” says General Manager Lisa Patrick.

Choices abound on the cocktail menu, too. “We try to comprise our cocktail list seasonally, as well,” says Patrick. “Cocktails are staff-created and unique. They’re all about the freshest ingredients.”

One particular favorite, the Dorothy’s Revenge, is an explosion of citrus, mixing pink grapefruit vodka with crème de pamplemousse rosé, hopped grapefruit bitters and ruby red grapefruit juice.

alchemy elements carrot cake among 8 OF BALTIMORE'S MOST GLORIOUS DESSERTS! baltimore sun

This is no ordinary carrot cake, said co-owner Debi Bell-Matassa, a pastry chef who has trained her staff to make the restaurant’s house desserts. The two-layer, 6-inch-tall cake, is a family recipe made with cooked, pureed carrots, fresh pineapple and pureed walnuts. The moist layers are then lathered with limoncello cream-cheese frosting made with fresh vanilla bean. “It’s comfort food taken up a notch,” Bell-Matassa said.  Click to see full article.


Chef Michael Matassa Guest Speaks at RAM Training

Chef Michael Matassa Guest Speaks at RAM Training

"As a way to inspire, engage, and prepare high school ProStart® teachers for the upcoming school year, the Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation (RAMEF) hosted hands-on culinary workshops with talented Maryland chefs." AE owner, Chef Michael Matassa was one of several local chefs to volunteer to speak and demonstrate at the workshop. Click here to view the entire article. 

AE Named In Top 50 Restaurants 2016

We are proud to announce that we've been named one of the top 50 restaurants of 2016 by the Baltimore Sun! With so many great restaurants in the area, we consider it an honor and a privilege to receive this distinction. Thank you Baltimore Sun! Click here to view our excerpt on the list. 

Chef Michael Wins Maryland Chef of the Year Award!

We want to sincerely thank all of our friends, family, and supporters who took the time to cast their votes last month in support of Baltimore’s nominees. It paid off! On Sunday, April 12th, Chef Michael was one of several ”stars of the industry” honored at the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s Havana Nights Gala. It was a tremendous honor 38 years in the making and truly appreciated.

Click here to read the full press release from the Restaurant Association of Maryland.

Alchemy Owners Land the Cover of Harford Style!

Alchemy owners, Chef Michael Matassa and Debi Bell-Matassa landed the cover of Harford  Style Magazine’s summer issue. The story focuses on all of the excitement and anticipation of the grand opening for Alchemy’s second location in Bel Air Town Center this Fall. Debi & Michael are both natives of Harford County and are thrilled to be coming back home.

Click Here to Read the Full Article