Oakland Chef Matt Horn Wants to Help Train Next Generation of Pittmasters

A Black man sits next to a barbecue smoker wearing an apron
Chef Matt Horn. Photo courtesy Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.

James Beard-nominated Oakland chef Matt Horn, whose popular barbecue spot in West Oakland often draws lines and who opened Kowbird earlier this year, is launching The Academy of Smoke, a program for Bay Area children to learn about “the art of barbecue.”

Horn feels it’s important to pass on the knowledge and joy of barbecuing to the next generation of pittmasters.

“As a small kid, it was important not just for myself, but for other youth as well, to be able to have mentors to help navigate the waters of life and grow into an adult,” Horn said in a statement.

The new program is slated to launch next Spring, and will teach Bay Area youth and children ages 8-12 the “history, craft, and art of barbecue” and fire management and safety, among other things, according to a press release.

The application will be fairly simple: kids will be asked to share one paragraph to one page on why they want to join the program. The program will be free for attendees. More information will be available soon on how to apply. Horn also released a cookbook and is opening a burger spot in Old Oakland.

Close up of ribs on a black slab, with some bbq sauce on in a small dish.
Horn Barbecue. Photo courtesy Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.

Author Profile

Momo Chang is a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Oakland Voices Co-Director. Her work focuses on healthcare, immigration, education, Asian American communities, food and culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Momo has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting and the Asian American Journalists Association, among others. Her work has appeared in the East Bay Express, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, and The New York Times. Momo is primarily a print journalist who also produces audio and visual stories for documentary film and radio. She is a Senior Contributing Editor for Hyphen and formerly the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).

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