Chef Matt Horn is the founder and owner of Horn Barbecue located in Oakland. His love for cooking influenced his decision to venture into the culinary industry. Experimenting in his grandmother’s backyard, he launched his barbecue joint in 2020, developing a singular style of barbecue that expresses the soul of his people and the power of his imagination.
“Growing up around it, I was perfectly happy eating Barbecue occasionally on weekends. After confidently grilling a bad batch of spare ribs for my girlfriend at the time, to which she was not pleased, I decided I would never cook bad cue again,” he noted on his website.
“It was that commitment to excellence that I began my process of becoming a devout student of the craft, obsessing and even dreaming about the next cook. I have never been consumed by anything the way I am with barbecue, and every-time I cook, it is the reflection of an internal fire that continues to grow.”
He cooks with the passion and purpose of a chef who knows that he has a responsibility to represent the best of his people. “I am their story,” said Horn. “We are their wildest dreams.” The dream is Horn Barbecue.
Calling his food movement the “West Coast barbecue”, Horn’s barbecue joint features meat-smoking techniques that infuse the deep culture of the Black South.
According to the company website, he launched in West Oakland because it was the cultural center for food, music, and the arts for the families of the great Black migration
In November this year, his famous barbecue joint caught fire, leading to the temporary closure of the company. The entrepreneur is now in the process of restoring the food spot.
Through the support of his community, he launched a GoFundMe page which has so far raised more than $120,000. His target is to raise $200,000 to bring back the restaurant.
“We reach out to you with a heartfelt appeal for support, an invitation to be part of a journey of resilience and revival,” his GoFundMe page reads. “Your contribution, no matter the size, will be a vital part of rebuilding what we lost. It will go towards renovating our cherished space, providing support to our dedicated staff who are the backbone of Horn Barbecue, and ensuring that the flavors and warmth that have united us continue to flourish.”
Horn’s barbecue restaurant was named as a semifinalist for “Best New Restaurant” in 2022 and was also recognized by Michelin as one of California’s most affordable eateries in 2021.
Aside from Horn Barbecue, Chef Horn owns AH2, through which he opened Kowbird, a fried chicken eatery spot. He also has a burger restaurant, according to sfgate.com.