Before being selected as the chef and operator for the Ready to Eat restaurant at the Boyce Farmer’s Market, Matt MacKenzie was the executive chef at Crowne Plaza. After working at the Crowne for seven years, MacKenzie felt the need for a change. Before long, along came Rick Huskins, former chef at the Boyce Farmers Market. Huskins had a golden opportunity and suggested that MacKenzie apply to become Ready to Eat’s newest chef. Soon after, MacKenzie applied for tenure and won the bid.
While working at the Crowne Plaza, Mackenzie had felt somewhat restricted by the restaurant’s menu. He now has total control over Ready to Eat’s selection of ingredients and its menu. Still, with newfound freedom also came newfound pressure. “I have, you know, unlimited creativity… you’re also, you’re making food for people. So, it isn’t necessarily unlimited because you’re trying to make things that other people want to eat, but you know, at the same time it is left unlimited because… you could also just keep creating at all points in time.”
Mackenzie continued: “Our menu changes every week. My menu is built in the way that there’s three to five market inspirations, and then there’s probably close to 11 or 12 mainstays now.” While speaking, MacKenzie shared his creative process as well as some of the dishes he has created. “Basically, how the menus are built is I take an inventory of everything I have, how old it is… like what the condition is… How fast do I need to move it? As well as what’s been selling, what the trends have been over the last little bit.” Within this cacophony of information, MacKenzie creates the market’s menu. “You need to be creative and you need to make things that people want to eat, and at the same time, always be balancing what you have on hand. How fast does it need to be used? How much of it do you have?”
With warmer weather on its way and COVID restriction being peeled back, MacKenzie has high expectations for the next few months. “The weather heavily impacts the market. This is for sure. I mean, those minus 28 days, you know, you didn’t see anybody till like 10:00 a.m. there.”
“I don’t know if that cheeseburger was worth the minus 28,” he joked.
MacKenzie hopes to expand sometime in the future. “Right now I have five employees and we’re hoping to grow. We’re open for Sunday brunches now which is kind of new. We’re trying to grow that. And hopefully, you know, over time I really do hope that we can prove that there’s a market for this and we can move into, like, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday morning services and you know basically running a breakfast restaurant.”
As an avid breakfast enjoyer myself, I am beyond excited for the future of Ready to Eat at the Boyce Farmers Market.