Developers are often touted as “builders of things.” However, it’s not often that you run into a developer-in-training whose background is in creating gourmet dishes. Matt Valdez made a career out of following his passion and getting his hands dirty at some of Atlanta and New York City’s most acclaimed restaurants. After doing some soul searching, he left his position as Restaurant Chef for the Four Seasons and signed up for an immersive coding bootcamp. He’s now ready to graduate and looking to pair his new found tech skills with the hard work and dedication he learned in the restaurant industry. We recently chatted with Matt to learn more about him and what he wants to do.
Web Development Immersive at General Assembly
What are you currently working on outside of class?
Being a father mainly. Other than that, I am studying hard and trying build a portfolio by building simple websites for folks I know.
What startup/tech/creative projects have you worked on?
We have bounced back between Atlanta and New York City over the past couple years. Most recently, I was the Restaurant Chef for the Four Seasons here in Atlanta. Prior to that, I was working in NYC as the Chef de Cuisine at Salvation Taco. Before that, I was here in Atlanta working as a Sous Chef for Linton Hopkins at Restaurant Eugene. And before that, I was a Sous Chef for April Bloomfield at her restaurant The Breslin in NYC.
What tech/tools are essential to you?
All Apple, all the time. My iPhone and Macbook are constantly by by side. As far as software, I have recently grown very fond of powerful programs such as Grunt and Bower that efficiently help you build web apps. They are really quite brilliant.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
My best creative skill would be my ability conceptualize my final product. I have done art since a young age and was always able to visualize what I wanted to achieve. That is not to say that everything turns out exactly as I expect, but having a clear goal in mind helps to manage progress throughout any project.
My best technical skill would be organization and time management, especially when working with a team. I developed this skill after years of working as a chef in some of the country’s best kitchens.
What’s next on your list to learn?
Why the interest in startups and the technology field?
I grew up a big timer user of almost everything in the tech field and I guess I took it all for granted. I have been very interested in learning how it all works for a long time now, but I never really had any time to do so because I was always working so much. I recently decided to go for a career change. Being a chef was a great passion of mine for a long time. Unfortunately, I found it impossible to have a healthy balance between work and my family. I made the choice to pursue a career in tech because, as I researched the jobs out there, I saw that I would be able to, with proper training, get a job were I could be as passionate building software as I was plating food. I guess it all comes down to building cool things and creating awesome stuff.
When are you available for full-time work and what do you want to do?
I will be available for full-time employment after July 17th. I would love to get an internship or junior developer position somewhere in town, preferably at a Dev Shop where I can learn from great programmers and continue to develop my skill set.