A Nutty Spin on Spaetzle with Hazelnut Hero Chef Matt Jones

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Here in the Pacific Northwest, chefs, bakers and candy-makers share their love of Oregon hazelnuts in unique and delicious ways. We like to call them our “year-round heroes of hazelnuts.” Meet Portland Chef Matt Jones:

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After just one bite of Tabor Tavern’s homemadespaetzle, you will be hooked. Made with brown butter, sage, parmesan and Oregon-grown mushrooms and hazelnuts, Tabor Tavern’s head chef, Matt Jones, clearly knows how to turn Oregon-foraged ingredients into a signature dish. Born and raised in Montana, Matt made his way to Portland in 2007 to pursue a degree from the Oregon Culinary Institute. Five years later, he’s leading a bustling kitchen at Tabor Tavern, a three-year old brew-pub, where the creative food and drinks immediately won the hearts and appetites of the neighborhood’s residents.

Matt credits his grandmother and mother for his love of cooking comfort foods. Eating home-cooked family meals was the norm for him growing up, and explains his appreciation for satisfying and delicious food. One of the many reasons Matt enjoys working at Tabor Tavern is the restaurant’s emphasis on local – not just with ingredients, but also their commitment to their neighborhood regulars who enjoy pints of craft brews and high-quality, yet affordable meals in a welcoming environment. When asked why he uses hazelnuts in his spaetzle dish, his response was simple: “I love hazelnuts, and they add an earthy flavor, and an unexpected texture and crunch.”

Matt also has a personal appreciation for the natural beauty of the canopy created in hazelnut orchards, and how they’re cared for by generations of family farmers – a setting that Matt and his wife chose for their wedding in the summer of 2011. Now that’s hazelnut love.