Just about every top chef proclaims a passion for sustainability and farm-to- table cuisine. While their motivations
are laudable, few walk the walk like Matt
Del Regno, executive chef and general
manager of the Huntington Convention
Center of Cleveland and the Global Center
for Health Innovation.
Besides managing the hectic day-to-day
operations of your typical convention center,
20-year Levy Restaurants veteran Del Regno
spreads the sustainable cuisine gospel at a
variety of local institutions. Examples include
partnering with sustainable food producers
and regular appearances at The Chefs Garden, West Side Market and other local farms.
But it’s the Huntington Convention Center’s urban farm that turns the most heads.
The quarter-acre showpiece supplies a
healthy portion of the center’s F&B offering.
“When you look out the windows and see
the animals and vegetables it sparks their
interest and they ask questions, and that lets
our team tell them what we do with the farm,”
Del Regno said of the interest the farm generates on meeting planner site visits.
Following are key details of its urban farm:
◗ 30 chickens that lay around two dozen
eggs per day and produce 25 percent of
the center’s shelled egg usage.
◗ 16 bee hives with around 100,000 bees
that produce around 2,000 gallons of
honey each year.
◗ Herbs and spices grown outdoors.
◗ 3 Mangalitsa pigs named Eddy, Honey
and Sage. These glorified pets are not
used for food but consume unused food
◗ A new hydroponic growing system inside the kitchen produces tomatoes and
◗ Goats are used to trim grass during the
Honey bees and the critical role pollinators
play in the food cycle were what brought
Del Regno into the sustainability fold.
“When we opened five years ago I was
at a conference and listened to a speaker
talk about the struggle of pollinators, so I
thought it could be a great idea to get our
own hives,” he said. “We had never kept
bees. Nobody on our staff knew anything
about it. So the first time I stood next to a
beehive was when I was dumping bees into
my own. We started with two and then had
six. They all wintered over, and at the end of
the second of year we had 12. We now have
16 downtown and up to 12 spread out in
other areas, including my house, my mother’s house and a general store.”
The convention center’s cuisine style is
as purposed as its production, relying on
simplicity and letting the goodness of the
food shine through.
“Our style overall is very clean and
straightforward New American cuisine,”
Del Regno said. “We don’t lean toward any
one food style. Overall, when you’re feed-
ing thousands of people at a time, first and
foremost you start with a good product and
let the food take us from there.”
For Del Regno, the proof is in the pud-
ding, as the saying goes.
“We just had an event that was dead set
on certain things—what we were doing was
actually an upgrade,” he said. “We asked
them to have one station of what we do and
then the rest was theirs. At the end of it we
stood with the planner and they said, ‘I don’t
know why I didn’t do this for the entire event.’
I said, ‘We can do it next time. Let’s start
talking about next year’s event.’”
2 cups oats
1 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. salt
1 cup dried fruit
¾ cup wheat germ
¾ cup shaved coconut
½ cup all-natural honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
MATT DEL REGNO // EXECUTIVE CHEF & GENERAL MANAGER
HUNTINGTON CONVENTION CENTER OF CLEVELAND // CLEVELAND //
WWW.CLEVELANDCONVENTIONS.COM // WWW. THEGLOBALCENTER.COM
By Tyler Davidson
YIELDS 24 BARS
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix oats, wheat germ, almonds and coconut on a baking sheet. Toast for 12 minutes or until golden brown. 2. Prepare an 11x13 glass baking dish, line bottom with wax paper and spray with non-stick spray.
3. Mix brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, salt and ground cinnamon in a 3-quart pot and bring to a simmer for one minute. 4. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined with a wooden spoon. 5. Pour into prepared pan, top with wax paper and press down to compact evenly. Allow to cool for three hours and cut into your desired shape. Enjoy!