These 30 rock
The 30 Columbians
Matthia Accurso could often be found at his mother’s side in the kitchen. He was helping her knead dough and mix chocolate chips into cookie batter when he was just 5 years old. By 10, this Columbia native was sharpening his cake decorating skills on cardboard cutouts as the only male student in the local 4-H Club cooking classes.
Accurso first entered the restaurant industry during his time at MU. He took a part-time job at the University Club. Six years and one business finance degree later, Accurso has earned the title of dining room sous chef, preparing meals under Executive Chef Daniel Pliska, who describes Accurso as a superstar.
“Matthia’s all-around skills are very rare today in our industry and will propel him to the top of the culinary field,” Pliska says. Last month, Accurso completed level two of the Culinary Institute of America’s professional chef exam.
In April, Accurso was honored with the American Culinary Federation’s silver medal for his signature dish: a braised rabbit saddle stuffed with sausage made from rabbit legs. But owning his own restaurant is not Accurso’s top priority.
“I’d like to end up teaching,” he says. Three years ago, he was an assistant teacher for the Welfare to Work program at the Columbia Career Center. He taught basic cooking lessons to help welfare recipients find employment in the food industry or simply cook for their families. He has also performed cooking demonstrations at the Central Missouri Food Bank in Jefferson City.
“I’d also like to teach at the high school and help young kids who want to cook,” he says.