Matt O’Hayer, founder and CEO of Vital Farms, pretty much lives and breathes good food. When he’s not in the trenches running his almost $10 million dollar company and stewarding the best interests of the company’s stakeholders–customers, crew, shareholders, farmers & vendors, and the environment–he’s whipping up something delicious in the kitchen. He recently invited us in for more shop talk and culinary inspiration. Keep reading for a great recipe inspired by Matt’s kitchen mojo and Vital Farms delicious eggs and chicken.
Where do you get culinary inspiration?
Cooking is like building a business, albeit in condensed, high speed form. You start with an idea, invest in ingredients, execute, and hopefully end up with a great result. Sometimes you fail, but with practice and perseverance, your successes begin to exceed those mishaps.
What is your favorite cookbook?
I no longer use cookbooks. Instead, I’ll decide what ingredients I want to work with, then google various recipes. This will usually lead to an amalgamation that sometimes bombs but more often is a success.
Who is your culinary idol?
I wouldn’t necessarily say “idol,” but I love what Jamie Oliver did to help train kids to eat the right foods in his TV show, Food Revolution. His passion, including his frustration with the status quo, is inspirational. Also, I loved his early cooking show, The Naked Chef. He makes cooking great, healthy food look easy, which it really is.
Your dream dinner party–you can invite six guests (real, imaginary, living, or dead) to dinner-what, who, & where?
As a chef on a charter yacht for four years, I conducted nearly 700 dinner parties, sometimes with celebrities, always in amazing settings. It would be fun to get the Obamas, Clintons, and a couple of choice friends together for a vegan feast.
What’s in your fridge right now?
Kale, spinach, smoked whole salmon (not lox), a green smoothie from yesterday, coconut creamer for my coffee, a leek, green onions, six different types of kim chi, various fruit, a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, a bottle of 2008 Lucia Chardonnay, six different international beers (I don’t drink beer, but I’m prepared for guests), and a variety of liquid ingredients for international sauces (Asian, Indian, Mexican, etc.). Also, two flats of Vital Farm Pasture Raised Organic Eggs. I have one to three business breakfast meeting here at the house each week, and eggs are always on the menu.
It’s Wednesday night at 6:30. What’s for dinner?
Sockeye salmon and broccolini with a Korean sauce (soy, sesame oil from my wife’s family farm in Korea, chiles from my garden, garlic) over brown rice.
Inspired by Matt’s love of Asian flavors, we created this deeply satisfying kimchi fried rice with raised-right Vital Farms chicken (available at Whole Foods Market) and eggs.
Kimchi & Chicken Fried Rice with a Fried Egg
2 Tbs. grapeseed or other neutral flavored oil
1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
2″ piece of ginger, grated or minced
1 bunch green onions, mostly white part with some green, cut into thin rings and divided
1/2 c. kimchi, coarsely chopped
1-2 c. cooked chicken, chopped
2 c. cooked rice (I used brown jasmine from Cajun Grain)
2 eggs + 1 egg for each serving
additional sesame oil for frying eggs
3 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. fish sauce
toasted sesame seeds & bonito flakes for garnish
In a wok or large skillet, heat grapeseed and sesame oil until shimmering. Toss in ginger and half of green onion and fry until fragrant. Add kimchi and continue cooking over high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken and continue stir frying for 2 minutes longer. Add more oil if things are sticking. Add rice to wok and flatten out over wok surface; cook without stirring for a minute, then toss and stir fry for a minute longer. Crack 2 eggs into a small bowl and beat to break up yolks. Make space in the bottom of the wok, add a little more oil if necessary and pour in eggs. Allow to set, then flip and cook through. Chop up the cooked egg with your spoon or spatula and stir into rice. Drizzle soy sauce and fish sauce over everything and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low while you fry eggs: heat sesame oil in a small skillet until just before it starts to smoke. Fry eggs to taste. Place fried rice in serving bowls and top each serving with a fried egg, green onion, a pinch of bonito flakes and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.