Ya know what? Maybe they do make ’em like they used to.
Even though a quick flip through popular media may give one the impression that the twenty-first-century man is of the perfectly coifed and manicured variety, a smooth-talking, citified tramp, or—heaven forbid—that deceitful creature known as the “lumbersexual” (lumbersexual? It exists. I swear. Look it up), I am here to tell you that the bonafide, gen-u-wine article—that rare breed of gun-shootin’, cane-pole fishin’, mamma-lovin’, guitar-pickin’, chivalrous, polite (and good lookin’ to boot!) gentleman still exists. Wouldn’t you know it, we’d find him in the South.
Meet Matt Moore: author, entrepreneur, musician, host, adventurer, and photographer. Oh yeah, and he cooks. He is, in fact, the author of two cookbooks: Have Her Over for Dinner (yes, fellas, it works) and his most recent release, A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen. You won’t, however, find any gilded culinary diplomas hanging on his walls; he earned his cooking chops the way the best Southern cooks often do: standing alongside his mama or grandmother, “Sitty,” in the comfort-close air of their Georgia kitchens. Under their expert tutelage, Matt learned the importance of simplicity and economy long before catchphrases like “locovore” and “farm-to-table” made their way into the culinary vernacular, letting the seasons guide the family menu not because it was in vogue but because it just made sense. Summer, winter, spring, and fall, you’d find Sitty’s Sunday table filled with love and the glory of the season, Southern staples served alongside traditional Mediterranean fare (fried chicken and tabbouleh, anyone?), and an open seat for anyone from the pastor to the passerby, traditions that her grandson carried close when he went out into the world to make his mark.
While it’s probably safe to say that for the majority of the population, college is a time of learning the limits of the microwave oven, deciphering the ominous hieroglyphs of takeout menus, and building strong bonds with the pizza delivery man, for Matt, it was a time to shine. Surprised by his peers’ cloddish incompetence in—if not outright terror of—the kitchen, Matt set out to prove the ease and simplicity of producing a home-cooked meal. When he wasn’t out drumming up pocket-change playing music at local bars (yes, he’s a singer/songwriter too, and the sound is just as sweetly Southern as his cooking philosophy), you’d find him playing host to a heap of friends (and friends’ friends), who, wide-eyed and wondering, watched as he turned the simplest ingredients into an improbably well-appointed meal. Over a few beers and a cast iron skillet, Matt helped innumerable friends not only overcome their irrational fear of the kitchen but realize the inherent worth of taking a few moments at the end of the day to stop, relax, and enjoy the fellowship of a home-cooked meal.
Today, Matt’s culinary influence extends far beyond the dorm room. Though he now calls Nashville, Tennessee, home, he’s spread his credo of simple Southern cooking (and manners and style) from the glossy pages of Esquire to the airwaves of the BBC and has quickly become every would-be gentleman’s Southern Spirit Guide. His cookbooks are part response to the unspoken plea of ranks of men who are all thumbs in the kitchen, part ode to his history and heritage, and part love-letter to the cultural richness of this beautiful South we call home. Like everything Matt seems to get his hands on, they’re filled with the warmth of family, the wit and wisdom of a gentleman, and a healthy helping of Southern charm.
More Pictures for Matt Moore, the New Southern Gentleman