Catskill Cuisine

Matthew Cooper

Matthew Cooper

Matthew Cooper

Meet Matthew Cooper, Head Chef and Owner of Conifer

Matthew Cooper was born and raised in Arkansas with a family steeped in food and community building. It is easy to see these values reflected back into his collaborative management style and his fun, flavorful approach to creating dishes. His mother’s side of the family were food technologists and educators, while his grandfather was a founder of the food technology program at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Using his inherited talent for all things food, Matthew attended Le Cordon Bleu in the Pacific Northwest where he lived for 6 years. During this time, he built a store of classic culinary knowledge while also solidifying the importance of farm-to-table and sustainable dining in the region. 

After exploring the country, he returned to Arkansas to connect with local farmers and dive into food education and restaurant ownership, while still maintaining a strong connection to his hands-on chef work. While in Arkansas, he opened Cache (Little Rock) and The Preacher’s Son (Bentonville) while also playing an active part in the Ropeswing Hospitality Group. 

Since leaving Ropeswing, Matthew’s newest restaurant venture has been creating the atmosphere, food and sustainable kitchen culture at Conifer in Bentonville, Arkansas. In this space, the team puts on display Matt’s caring, communal and comfortable vision of a restaurant where a heavy emphasis is put on seasonality. 

Since bringing Conifer into being, Matt has received numerous accolades and press, including a nomination as a semifinalist James Beard Best Chef in the Southeast. Being diagnosed with celiac disease himself, Matthew has made Conifer into a dedicated gluten free restaurant which provides a safe atmosphere for people living with dietary restrictions. Matthew strives for and achieves work life balance by spending time with his wife of 20 years, Priscilla, their daughter, and two dogs when he is not cooking with his team.

Blissfully. Shay Lavi 


-The Third Space

-Let’s Eat! Catering 

-Tactica media 

“Start where you are.

Use what you have. 

Do what you can.”

“Always be a part of the solution never the the problem”