Matthew Kenney is a vegan entrepreneur, restaurant owner of properties in nine cities in the United States, instructor at the Food Future Institute, and creator of five lines of mass-market-distributed, plant-based product lines.
Born and raised in New England, on the coast of Maine, Matthew is excited to have his Neapolitan pizza establishment Double Zero as a new addition in Boston (the restaurant opened July 9, 2021). Featuring plant-based versions of classics like pepperoni, pesto, and margherita pizza, Double Zero also serves dishes like red bean and quinoa meatballs and eggplant parmigiana.
Although Matthew is always excited to bring his cooking to a new market, and was especially looking forward to opening a restaurant so close to where he grew up, and close to his neighboring Plant City food hall in Providence, Rhode Island. His aim is to build a global network of plant-based enthusiasm with more plant-based chefs and dining options everywhere. He thinks plant-based options should always be the star and should be available in every opportunity, and his favorite restaurant “is always the next one, the one they’re building”.
Each of Matthew’s restaurants are as sustainable as possible without compromising what he states is a clear, clean brand, including solar wherever they can get it, high water filtration standards, and the best local ingredients they have. He says sustainability efforts are worked into the design of restaurants too, including a new ceiling in New York that is made out of mycelium, a plastic made out of mushroom.
The chef and entrepreneur has a clear passion for bringing many plant-based options to culinary and business spaces where they may not have existed before. He credits his team at his Innovation Lab/Kitchen, a central hub of around ten highly trained and talented chefs that helps him develop intellectual property and taste it, see it, etc. before it’s brought into the world and mass-produced. His brand standards for menu writing, colors, photos, and more help keep the end product connected to his name. This in turn helps him build additional accolades and recognition and supports future business ventures. Some of Matthew’s current explorations include a sustainable athleisure line and a vegan interior for an aviation company. He has goals of bringing good vegan options “any place food is served, in the home or institution”, including hospitals, airports, schools, and more.
Matthew seems genuinely excited to bring vegan options to all, whether that’s in the grocery store freezer, a drive-through, or in other areas of life such as fashion and travel. I’d be interested in doing a road trip to visit some of his internationally-inspired restaurants to see how he (and other white, vegan, big-name chefs) put efforts into crediting and collaborating with the people who created the types of foods that are being reproduced. From my conversation with him, though, he’s passionate about mainstreaming plant-based options at all levels of affordability and accessibility, and teaching new chefs from over 70 countries to succeed in the plant-based space, too.
With his great power in the current vegan landscape (financially, influence-wise, number of properties, etc.) comes great responsibility to keep acting and creating with the intention of making veganism a space for all. I look forward to seeing where he and the vegan world grow in this mission over the next years.