Eddie Matney has sold his popular “Eddie’s House” and will now be Executive Chef of The Estancia Club. His move follows Mel Mecinas’ departure from the Talavera restaurant to work at Scottsdale National GC. Like Mecinas, Matney cited the changing club dining scene, the chance to build relationships with members, and the opportunity to have a more predictable and family-friendly schedule as key reasons for his move.
The Arizona Republic of Phoenix, Ariz. has featured the moves of two high-profile chefs from top restaurants in the highly competitive Scottsdale, Ariz. dining scene to take executive-chef positions at private clubs in the area.
Eddie Matney, who worked in the area’s restaurant scene for three decades and built a loyal following, sold his eponymous Scottsdale restaurant, Eddie’s House, in June, The Republic reported. He then spent the summer helping with menu development at Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz., which he described to The Republic as an “incredible experience.”
But Matney’s desire to be closer to his family then drove him to take a position as Executive Chef of The Estancia Club in north Scottsdale, Ariz., a role that he officially starts on Tuesday, October 17th, The Republic reported.
“I’m really excited about it, because they want me to bring some ‘Eddie-ism’ to their club, and I’m really looking forward to being able to introduce some new things,” Matney told The Republic.
Opened in 1996, The Estancia is a private, member-owned golf club that was named Arizona’s best golf course for 2017-18 by Golf Digest, The Republic reported.
“He’s such a dynamic person,” James Heck, Estancia’s Clubhouse Manager, told The Republic. “We’re excited for his food, coaching the staff and developing new menus and getting new members to feel his passion.”
Because the dining room at Estancia is open only to club members and their guests, Matney’s audience will be smaller than it was when he worked the restaurant scene, The Republic noted. But he’s looking forward to engaging closely with a regular group of guests.
“It’s a lot of fun, because a lot of the country club is relationships you build with people,” Matney said. “You develop these intimate relationships and you get to express your creative passion with these guests.
“Country clubs aren’t like they used to be,” he added. “The dining scene has changed, and so has the dining scene with country clubs. To be able to cook and create and have the freedom to introduce new things and have members who will appreciate it, it’s awesome.”
Matney is the second high-profile chef from the area to leave Scottsdale’s restaurant scene for a private club over the past year, The Republic noted. Previously, Mel Mecinas departed Talavera at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North for the Scottsdale National Golf Club, which is owned by GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons.
Like Mecinas, Matney expressed a desire to be able to spend more time with his family as an important impetus behind the move.
“Everybody knows chefs sacrifice a lot,” Matney told The Republic. “But what their families sacrifice for them, people don’t understand that. And for me to be able to have a schedule, to be able to take vacation time, to know my days off and have that be positive time with my family, that’s everything.”
He also expressed a certain amount of relief at no longer having to deal with the extreme pressures of running his own restaurant.
“For the people in the independent restaurant world, yes, it’s frustrating out there, what goes into owning your own business and owning a restaurant,” he said.
“My three passions in life are family, food and fly-fishing,” Matney added. “Now I get to spend more time with my family, I get to create all kinds of food and explore new adventures with food and, possibly, I have a little more time to go fly-fishing.”