Style Stud: Caitlin Mateo, Executive Chef of Square 1682

unnamedI’ve become stupidly obsessed with the show Chopped on the Food Network. I have no idea why, but it soothes my soul. 

And hey, it has kind of sparked my interest in cooking and food, which was never a huge part of my life. Like for instance, I now know what “frisee” is (hey ma … look at me, I can cook … kinda, sort of, not really).

So when I got the opportunity to pick the brain of one of Philly’s most well-known executive chefs, Caitlin Mateo from Square 1682, I jumped at the opportunity.

She’s not only talented in the kitchen and stylish (gotta love a girl who adores an all black outfit), but has also overcome hardships and knows how valuable self esteem can be.

So enough from me … please have the pleasure of getting to know Caitlin Mateo a little better.

What is your most beloved piece in your closet right now? BCBG black leather jacket. Every Christmas I buy myself a kick ass BCBG item, and the last 2 years were coats. I love wearing black. All black, or as an accent piece, you just can’t go wrong, and I look pretty bad ass in it.

 Describe your style in 4 words: sleek, versatile, bold, effortless

Name a few chefs who inspire you. Iliana Regan, Enrique Olvera, Michel Bras, and the list goes on. There are so many influential chefs in our world.

Tell me a little bit about Square 1682. What is your favorite thing on the menu right now and what would I drink with it? Square1682 is much different now than when it first opened. We’ve evolved and figured out what works for us and who our loyal customers are. 

One of my favorites on the menu right now is the octopus. Part of that is the love that goes into preparing the dish. It’s quickly cured, then tenderized for a long time and cooked slowly, then marinated and charred. Served over capsicum puree with crisp peanut potatoes that are confit in duck fat. We finish the dish with shishito peppers and a balsamic reduction. Its flavors come together really well and I would pair it with our Cotes du Rhone blanc.


Do you get inspiration for dishes outside of the kitchen? If so, where? I get inspiration most times out of the kitchen. I can get inspiration while at a farm. I get a lot of inspiration with a clear head when meditating or taking a run. Sometimes I might just look at the clouds and ideas start popping into my head.

I understand you overcame anorexia through your love of cooking, and I think that is beyond amazing. What advice could you give girls in Philly who are suffering from body image disorders, or just don’t have great self esteem? I did overcome that issue, and it was one of the toughest life experiences I’ve been through. Cooking, professionally, taught me how to get over my fear and love to eat food again. 

I would tell those girls that (this seems so cliché) what matters in your life really is about the person you are on the inside and the lasting impression you can leave on this world. Be good to your body and your mind and think about what it most important. Also, find a style that helps you feel confident and comfortable with yourself.

What do you like to wear when you cook? Usually I wear jeans or slim black pants. I do wear a chef coat, but I really like to cook in a nice button down blouse.

Do you have a signature dish to make? Can you describe it a bit. It’s funny, I have a lot of signature dishes in the professional kitchen and at home. Every holiday I’m always asked to make spinach lasagna. It’s the simplest dish, but the difference is the fresh pasta and putting a lot of love into every step of making that dish.  Seasoning the fresh cheese mix and adding just the right amount of spice to the tomato ragu. People go nuts for it.

How do you feel about cheesesteaks, a Philly fave? And how would you make them even better … and may I please try it You have to love a good Philly cheesesteak. I think each part of the steak needs to be taken into consideration starting with kick ass bread. I’m really into baking bread so I would start there. I also love cheese, especially the stinky ones, so I’d probably make a taleggio sauce to top my sandwich with. 


Do you think there is any advantage being a chef in Philly compared to anywhere else? Yes. We have the best of both world’s in terms of fresh and local product with the sea being so close and some really great farms in PA and NJ. We’re also the most up and coming food city right now. The chef/food scene wasn’t even present 10 years ago, and now we have some of the best chefs and restaurants in the nation. 

I’ve heard that the culinary world is a bit of a “boys club.” Would you say that is accurate? As I came up as a young cook it definitely was a boys club, but that was 10+ years ago. Not anymore! Women are rocking and rolling in the kitchens and holding their own. 

If you could cook with anyone (chef of non-chef) who would it be and why? That’s such a tough question! I would probably pick someone like Tom Robbins (author) or Ray LaMontague (musician) so I could pick their creative brains and have a great discussion. I think it’s important to surround yourself with creativity and get inspiration not just from other chefs but people in all walks of life.

Is it hard having a social life as a chef? Absolutely. It wasn’t as hard before I got married and started a family. Then I had time to go out after work, plan days off with friends, and take day trips. Now my time is dedicated to my family and the kitchen. I rarely make it to a family birthday party, but there’s a certain amount of commitment you have to make to yourself to enjoy those times.

What is your most beloved item in your personal kitchen? Vitamix. We use it for so many things!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Possibly in a more senior role with my company.  I would like to get into restaurant and kitchen design and planning (all while cooking of course). I like to travel so there is always possibly of taking a few years and experiencing other cities or countries.  


Style Stud: Nicole Angemi of iHeartAutopsy

ce9cf13f-00bd-4a0b-af73-338b9838c922I discovered Nicole Angemi in an interview she did with Philly Mag last summer. The article was entitled “Meet the Local Hospital Worker Who Posts Autopsy Photos on Instagram,” and immediately I needed to know more. My curiosity got even worse when I saw the “local hospital worker” was this rad looking chick covered in tattoos.

And you know me, I love a stylish, bad ass looking chick.

With over 800,000 followers on Instagram, Nicole has this magnetizing way of drawing you in to her world of severed limbs and chest cavities with swords sticking out of them (LITERALLY … it was awesome). I normally don’t enjoy shit like that, but I find myself continuously scrolling through her Instagram account with one eye opened. It’s disgustingly addictive, what can I say.

Oh, and if you have a “tough mother” in your life, be sure to check out Nicole’s iHeartAutopsy line, and score your mama a “Dura Mater” t-shirt.

I want one and I haven’t even spawned yet.

What is your favorite piece in your closet currently? My custom Ben Venom battle jacket and my Valentino flats which were my push present from my husband for my middle daughter Lillian.


Where can we find you on an average spring Saturday afternoon? The Philadelphia Zoo

Your nails are notoriously rad. Where do you get them done and how long does it take? Ruby at Top Nails and Spa in Collingswood. It takes about 2 hours and I go every 3 weeks.  

Is it hard to work with nails like that? No. Everyone always asks me that. I have had nails all my life so I am used to them. Sometimes they actually help me dissect. 

What is your most beloved part of your job? When I get a really challenging specimen/autopsy with distorted anatomy and pathology and I have to take time to determine what the problem is. I also love very simple cases that have textbook pathology too. I always thought it was very cool to open a body and find exactly what I learned in school. 


You can’t show a nipple on Instagram, yet your feed is all random body parts. What is the trick to getting away with it? A nipple can’t be shown because Instagram has to draw a line with nudity otherwise hardcore porn shots will start showing up in your feed. The photos I post are within the guidelines of Instagram’s rules and do not show nudity or violence. 

Describe your style in 4 words: Modern, morbid, monochromatic, mompunk, 

I’m sure you get asked a lot of crazed questions about your profession. Which your least favorite and why? Are you scared of dead people? No! I’m scared of the live ones! 


Your tattoos are beautiful. Is there any rhyme or reason what you get or where you decide to place it? My earlier tattoos were picked based on design alone. As I have gotten older, my tattoos have become more sentimental and every one has a special meaning. At this point I just get one wherever I have room! 

Do you have a favorite tattoo artist in Philly? Pat Haney

Do you have plans for your next tattoo? Yes. My husband and I are getting matching coffee/Wawa themed tattoos for our 8th anniversary because we met there. 

Favorite store in Philly? The Strange and Unusual 


Your may be the red lipstick queen. What is your go-to brand? Mac makeup-always 

Who/what inspires you? Family/friends in my life who are doing positive things and constantly pushing themselves to do better. When you surround yourself with people who are always challenging themselves and striving for more, you find yourself doing the same. 

Is there anything that you get grossed out by? Explain grossed out? I touch other people’s poop, blood and body fluids every day. I don’t enjoy poop. I wouldn’t touch poop if I didn’t have to, but it’s my job so I do it. Yeah it’s gross. It’s poop of course it’s gross. 

What can we look forward to seeing next from you? Expanding on my iheartautopsy merchandise! A book, more lectures, a TV show, who knows!

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