Matt McGrail

Matt McGrail

Cork and Gabel


As most chefs say they started out, cooking with mom, I am no different. My mom came home once from work to a messy kitchen, my friends and I sitting at the kitchen table eating chef salads. Her question was simple, “who made salads?” simple response from me, “I made chef salads” I was 5 years old. 2 years later I asked for an easy bake oven for Christmas, I burned my first cake and it was off to the races from there.

Born and raised in Detroit, I started my professional career as a dishwasher at Macaroni Grill when I was 17, I quickly made my way through the ranks and by the time I left, I was being promoted to sous chef. I left to attend culinary school at Schoolcraft College in Livonia. As all chefs have done, I worked a full time job while going to school full time. Once graduating in 2000, I started building my resume, working at the Island House Hotel on Mackinac Island, then onto the Hill Seafood and Chophouse in Grosse Point Farms. From there I started working at the Fairlane Club in Dearborn, all the while working to hone my skills. I then worked for Rochester Mills Beer Company and then was transferred to Detroit Beer Company the week of the Detroit Super Bowl. After leaving the Beer Company, I started working for Pei Wei Asian Diner (PF Changs Company); I spent 7 years with Pei Wei learning what it was to run a restaurant.

After leaving Pei Wei, I went on to running the foods division at Macys Lakeside. After my stay at Macys I left to pursue my passion for the kitchen again. I took the position of Executive Chef at the Carpathia Club in Sterling Heights, a German Cultural Center, and the position of Sous Chef at the Great Lakes Culinary Center in Southfield. Right away, I knew I was back where l enjoyed my time the most, in the kitchen.

For my entire life, I always wanted to open a restaurant, that opportunity came in 2015 when I met my business partner Joe Mifsud, who had an idea of opening a German restaurant in Corktown. We met several times, had a menu tasting and from there the journey began to open, Cork and Gabel, a fusion of sorts restaurant serving, Irish, Italian and German Cuisine. My background of Irish and Italian, and Joe’s passion for German food made for an easy combination. The goal, which was always so simple in my mind, make your food with as much passion as you can, using ingredients from local suppliers and putting the freshest food possible on the table. Bring guests together through food and the dining experience. Cork and Gabel utilizes a small family owned organic farm in Tecumseh, Michigan, The Wojcik Farm. I work with the farmer on a weekly basis and a seasonal growing schedule to provide exactly what I need throughout the growing season. So when it comes to produce, I believe we can’t get any fresher than we have.

I have worked my entire career to get to this point, turning my dreams into reality, turning my passion for food, into amazing food on a plate.