Food by VICE

Dirty Work: Making Chicharron Pizza and Wagyu with Matt Lambert of The Musket Room

Sure, it’s not your traditional slice, but it’s damn good.

by Becky Hughes
Oct 8 2016, 6:00pm
matt_lambert1-copy

Chef Matt Lambert knows a thing or two about gardening. At his Nolita restaurant The Musket Room, Lambert sources ingredients from their backyard garden to make dishes inspired by his upbringing in New Zealand.

matt_lambert2-copy

That being said, the Auckland native wasn't fazed when we challenged him to raid the MUNCHIES roof garden and whip up an impromptu meal.

matt_lambert3-copy

Lambert snagged his first job in the restaurant industry at age 14, and, in true chef fashion, showed up to our office prepared. He came bearing pork skin, a perfect piece of wagyu, and a container of pig's blood, among other funky powders and gadgets.

matt_lambert4-copy

After a romp in the garden, Lambert brought his spoils back to our test kitchen and began banging out one mind-blowing dish after another.

matt_lambert5-copy

He started with pizza—and we're using that term loosely. Lambert started by prepping, dehydrating and then frying pork skin to make chicharrones. He dotted each piece with homemade ricotta, then topped it with basil seeds and tiny basil leaves.

matt_lambert6-copy

Sure, it's not your traditional slice, but it's damn good. We'll take all of our pizzas on fried pork from now on, please.

matt_lambert7-copy
RECIPE: Pork Chicharron "Pizza"
matt_lambert8-copy

Now, to tackle that fine piece of beef.

matt_lambert9-copy

After butter basting the wagyu to perfection (with a ton of garlic and herbs, of course), he laid it over a bright puree of kale and chicken stock, a swipe of celery root truffle sauce, and a simple salad of kale leaves.

matt_lambert10-copy

For garnish, he carefully sliced radishes paper-thin and placed them alongside tiny flowers. Knockout.

matt_lambert11-copy
RECIPE: Wagyu with Celery Root and Kale

Now, you might be wondering what happened to the blood. The short answer: dessert.

matt_lambert12-copy

Don't freak out—it's delicious. Mixed with some sugar, cream, and set in molds with gelatin, you might mistake the pigs' blood for a disc of chocolate flan.

matt_lambert13-copy

Lambert topped the nontraditional dessert with a homemade rhubarb foam, dehydrated and powdered herbs from our garden, raspberry gel, plus fresh herbs and berries.

matt_lambert14-copy
RECIPE: Pigs Blood with Berries and Basil

Now that's a perfectly unorthodox dessert to cap off one hell of a meal.