EXECUTIVE CHEF / OWNER
What sets Chef Matt apart from others in his field is his consistent passion for cuisine, hospitality and all things indulgent. His obsession started at an early age. Growing up in Houston, Chef Matt and his family would scour all corners of the city in search of traditional tex mex and fresh tortillas, travel miles for the best new BBQ spot, taste, explore, and fall in love with the vibrant and diverse ethnic food scene, so ubiquitous in this southern town. During semi-annual trips to Detroit , he was always the first of his cousins to assist his grandma with preparing cookies and pies for holiday celebrations. This led to an enthusiastic enrollment at Johnson & Wales University in Miami.
After doing the industry rounds in some of the best restaurants in South Beach, in 2009, he travelled to Singapore as the opening Executive Chef of Krish. It was at Krish that Chef Matt began making a name for himself in the kitchen, being named by Time as “The Country's Hottest Chef".
With a short stint at Minibar by Jose Andres, Chef Matt settled in at Brasserie Beck as the Executive Sous Chef in 2011, working with Chefs Robert Wiedmaier and Brian McBride. Late 2012 took him to the historic Occidental Grill & Seafood as Chef de Cuisine. With him he brought a reenergized menu that utilized seasonal ingredients and supported regional purveyors and watermen. After his time at The Occidental, Chef Matt accepted the challenge of opening City Perch in Bethesda as Executive Chef. His commitment to supporting local farms and vendors elevated to new heights. Weekly, he would purchase produce, dairy, and meats directly from local farmers markets and small businesses.
In 2015, Zagat named Chef Matt in its “Top 30 under 30 listing”. Chef Matt works tirelessly to positively influence the Washington, DC area through his continuous support of numerous charities and not-for-profits, such as the Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne , Charity off the Hook, No Kid Hungry (Share Our Strength) and March of Dimes.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS / PARTNER
Alaska native David Kurka has been immersed in the food and beverage industry since his first job gutting salmon at a fish cannery. His diverse experiences and frequent travels eventually carried him to Washington, DC (several times) and he now hopes to grow deep roots in Ivy City!
He first honed his DC-area fine dining chops working alongside local sommelier legends including, John Wabeck at Inox, Jaime Lang at Brasserie Beck, Matt Carroll at Brabo, Andy Myers and Jarad Slipp at Cityzen, and Kathy Morgan at Range. In 2015, David opened the Michelin-starred Masseria as General Manager and Sommelier. After guiding Masseria through its wildly- successful opening, and the following years of numerous awards and accolades, David was transitioned to open Masseria’s sister restaurant, Officina at the Wharf.
David joins Gravitas just a few months shy of its one-year anniversary and strives to enliven all aspects of guest experience with his unique and impassioned knowledge, polish and enthusiasm. In his role, David seeks to exceed expectations and provide an immersive and curated journey for guests that compliments the culinary delights from Chef Matt’s kitchen. David received his certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2010, and passed his advanced exam in 2013. Always up for a challenge, David plans to take his Master Sommelier exam in 2020.
LINDSAY J BAKER
CONSULTANT / OWNER
Chef Matt’s wife, sole female from the House of Jordan, Ava and Donut’s mom, mindfulness wannabee, Lindsay is a woman of many names and wearer of many hats. Gravitas’ biggest cheerleader, taskmaster, ball-buster, and resident taste tester, Lindsay is often seen pruning the plants, hijacking wine tastings, posting to Instagram, challenging text/content/menus/graphics or just generally cleaning and straightening. Also writing copious amounts of emails. Lots (and lots) of emails.
Prior to jumping ship to get her Masters at George Mason University and becoming a full-time CPA at a global professional services firm (the BEST of the BIG FOUR), Lindsay worked at The Ritz-Carlton in both Pentagon City and Georgetown. In the early 2000s, Lindsay also worked alongside Marc and Anne Barnes, owners of Dream and Love, here in Ivy City. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu culinary arts programin Sydney, Australia, Lindsay also opened several restaurants and nightclubs in the Washington, DC area.
CHEF DE CUISINE
Former Chef de Cuisine of Fiola, Chef Vincent joins Gravitas after managing some of the most prestigious kitchens in the US, including Eleven Madison Park, Maison Premiere, Café Boulud, Felidia by Lidia Bastianich, and Zaytinya. Prior to graduating from the International Culinary Institute, Chef Vincent honed his Italian fine-dining chops at Oasis-Sapori Antichi, where he was schooled daily on the delicious and diverse art form of fresh pasta and the importance of using fresh, seasonal, regional ingredients when cooking.
A local boy, Chef Vincent grew up in rural Virginia, where he learned the value of hard work from his parents and how one’s quality of life is a product of relationships - relationships between people; people between their community; and communities with their environment.
Chef Vincent enjoys cooking (obviously), soccer, fishing and foraging; ingredients for THE perfect weekend!
With over ten years in the hospitality industry, Yosef most recently left a five-year stint as a manager at Mindful Restaurant Group where he worked alongside Ari Gejdenson to establish and expand his diverse and fast-growing DC brand. A passionate Copt Christian, Yosef is enthusiastic about volunteering in his native Egypt and is a recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama. An animated story teller, Yosef enjoys running and making people happy!