BEHIND THE COUNTER
Northside Social is led by a group of experienced, talented restaurant professionals. Please take a moment to learn a bit about our diverse team, each of whom looks forward to welcoming you to our neighborhood coffeehouse.
Director of Coffee
Since the age of 12, Northside Social Head Barista Seth Cook has been in love with coffee. Since his parents did not approve of his new found obsession, Seth would have to save his allowance so he could buy coffee on his own, or wait for his parents to be out of the house so that he could make coffee for himself, only to be foiled when his parents returned to the lovely aromatics of coffee filling the house. As his passion for coffee grew, so did his love of music and art. He began attending the New England Conservatory Preparatory School in Boston at the age of 13, which happened to have a wonderful espresso bar nestled beside it. In between rehearsals and classes, Seth began to discover the burgeoning field of specialty coffee, falling more in love with it than ever before. Not too long after, he received his first espresso machine- a rudimentary boiler system machine that made horrible coffee- and the search for making great coffee began.
Seth holds degrees from both Northwestern University and McGill University, in orchestral tuba performance and musicology. Having traveled the world with many different orchestras, he began to see that coffee was multifaceted. Its not merely a wonderful morning drink, but a social situation, a thought provoker, an historic relic. Discovering the effect of coffeehouses in Vienna as a spur for the Secessionist movement in art, Seth became further intrigued by the power of coffee. He continued to practice and train on his own time, maintaining his pursuit.
After he finished his studies in Montreal, Seth moved to Washington DC to begin to practice his music profession. Immediately upon moving to the area, he started performing with top ensembles, including the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington National Opera, the Baltimore Symphony and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. While this success was gratifying to an extent, it was his wife, Sophia, who encouraged him to also pursue a career in coffee. Seth joined the team at Northside Social as Head Barista and loves his work.
Chef Matt Hill’s passion for food and cooking began at a young age. He spent his childhood summers at his maternal grandparent’s farm in Marshville, NC, where soybeans, cotton, and corn were grown on the main acreage. Matt remains grateful for time spent curing hams with his grandfather, canning with his grandmother, and helping to raise cattle and grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for his extended family. Matt attributes his desire to be a professional Chef to this formative period in his life.
After college and a stint working as a cook at Etienne Jaulin’s Townhouse in Charlotte, Matt enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY and graduated in 2000. Matt immediately began working in a series of award-wining restaurants in New York City including Tom Colicchio’s Craft and Geoffrey Zakarian’s Theo. In 2003, Matt earned an opportunity to work at the highly acclaimed restaurant Aureole, where Matt began a rewarding and highly influential working relationship with his mentor, Charlie Palmer. After years of training in several Palmer kitchens, Hill traveled to Reno, Nevada to open Palmer’s restaurant Fin Fish, as Executive Chef. In 2008, Hill returned to Washington, DC to take the lead as Executive Chef of Charlie Palmer Steak. During his five-year tenure there, Matt led the restaurant to numerous awards and significant critical acclaim, including a three-star review from Washingtonian Magazine, the Washington Post Editor’s Pick for Best Steakhouse, and designation as “Top 100 Very Best Restaurants” from Washingtonian Magazine from 2008-2010. .
In 2012, Matt joined longtime friend and colleague Chef Bryan Voltaggio in opening the highly anticipated restaurant Range in Washington, DC. As Chef de Cuisine, Matt directed all seven kitchens at Range, from rotisserie to wood-burning hearth, and worked especially diligently to build relationships with purveyors of the best meat, fish, produce, and cheese the Mid-Atlantic has to offer. In March 2013, Range received three stars from the Washington Post, and achievement Matt counts as a career highlight.
Chef Hill has now taken on the role as Executive Chef for The Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall, and North Side Social. He looks forward to blending his culinary talent experience, and passion in leading these three restaurants to ongoing success. When he gets the chance, Matt will take a few moments to enjoy his favorite pastimes of fishing, golfing, and dining in a diverse variety of restaurants.