Restaurateur Donal McCoy announces the appointment of Matthew Daggett as new Executive Chef for Serrano Restaurant (20 S. 2nd Street) in Old City District. Daggett most recently served as Chef de Cuisine at Devil’s Den.
Daggett’s spring priorities will be collaborating with McCoy and new bar manager Shawn Gormley (former co-owner of PBR) on a new spring menu emphasizing local and seasonal ingredients, a bar menu to pair with Serrano’s craft cocktails, and a revamp of the menu for Tin Angel upstairs. In the brief interim, Daggett is already cooking in the kitchen starting today with an interim menu that blends Daggett’s cooking styles and flavors with Serrano long-time favorite dishes.
“We want to re-establish Serrano as the neighborhood’s restaurant, with more value for your money, focus on local ingredients, and of course, continued quality in the dining room and bar,” said McCoy. “Daggett is a natural choice to help us accomplish this. We were impressed with his cooking and personality. He comes with a great reputation, expertise in small plates, and creative ideas to help bring Serrano to the next level.”
Daggett originally hails from Bavaria, Germany and spent his early years moving around Western Germany near the border of France. He moved to the United States in 1993, and brought with him influences from German and French roots. His recent dishes showcase his experience with delicate plating, small portions and colorful pops of flavor. Daggett is most known for his housemade sausages that are influenced by his family in Germany, and his extensive training in Europe.
Over the years, Daggett worked his way up in the kitchen from dishwasher and line cook in a small-town diner, to eventually moving to Philadelphia where he took a position as line cook in an up-beat Center City bar. His early career transitions helped deepen his love of being in the kitchen, and his creativity took off. With the move to Philadelphia, he sought out challenging and fast paced opportunities so that he could quickly learn new techniques. Along the way, Daggett discovered a love of pickling and curing of meat and vegetables.
He was hired at Devil’s Den under Chef Alex Urena, where a new world of flavor profiles and plating techniques opened for him. His experiences in Europe, along with his knowledge of pickling and curing then came together for his first menu as Devil’s Den Chef de Cuisine.
“I am excited to bring my German and French roots, with Spanish and American influences, to the new menu at Serrano,” said Daggett. “I look forward to being inspired by this Old City staple’s long history in Philadelphia’s culinary movement, and I look forward to writing a new chapter with Donal, Shawn and my new team. “
In addition to Daggett, Serrano has made other exciting changes to the line-up which includes the hiring of head bartender Shawn Gormley (former co-owner of PBR in Old City). Gormley and McCoy have already started reworking the handcrafted cocktail list and they will soon introduce a new beverage program. Both will collaborate with Daggett on a first-ever bar menu for downstairs, and a new special menu for patrons of the Tin Angel music venue.
In the dining room McCoy says, “The days of a $25 and $26 dish are gone. We want to focus on the quality, accessibility and value.” His vision moving forward is that Serrano will still be known as the city’s most romantic restaurant, but that it also continues to extend its reputation as the perfect place to dine with friends and neighbors, a great venue for a special celebration, and a cozy spot for a great burger paired with a craft beer or well made cocktail.
Watch for more information about Serrano’s exciting changes -- coming soon. In the meantime, Executive Chef Matthew Daggett looks forward to meeting you in the dining room.