Hotel Washington Welcomes New Chef Matt Poole

“When I boarded the ferry in the middle of January … and fell in love with the island in the dead of winter, I knew it was for real,” said Matt Poole, who’s the new chef for Washington Island’s Hotel Washington (

The Midwest native didn’t always mean to be a chef, so his first kitchen job didn’t come until age 31. He decided he needed a big move to catch up in the culinary world, so he’s lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last five years, working first at Desco – and learning the values of Italian cooking there from chef Simone Ferrara – and then at the famed farm-to-table institution Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

In February 2019, Poole left California to join forces with Hotel Washington and recruited two friends to join him. The new team will work with Hoot Blossom Farm, Folk Tree Farm, foragers, and other island and Wisconsin growers and producers.

A Mother’s Day brunch will be served May 12, 11 am – 2 pm. Islanders are invited to preview the menu on May 18 and 19, 4:30-8:30 pm, before the season officially opens on May 21.