Meet the Chefs

Matt Lindsey

Matt Lindsey – Head Chef

To celebrate our 25th year in business, we want to give our loyal customers a look into the people who make Brewster’s the place so many of us call home. We look forward to welcoming all of you into our “home” every day & appreciate the experiences you’ve shared with your loved ones over the years at Brewster’s & hope you enjoy learning a little more about us! This week, we take a look at our head chef, Matt Lindsey.

If you’ve never worked in a restaurant before…let’s make one thing clear: chefs have a reputation of being a bit…feisty. In their defense, there’s a lot going on. You’ve got people yelling at you from all different directions, you’re cooking multiple dishes, you’re fixing three orders that a server accidentally messed up..and..you want the food to come out perfect. Needless to say, kitchen life is stressful. The Brewster’s crew, however, works under the direction of a chef who is the farthest thing from feisty. Matt Lindsey, from Sheldon, IL, has been cooking for fifteen years after completing culinary school. While he initially grew up wanting to be a helicopter pilot, cooking seemed like the direction he wanted to go after experimenting with different recipes and techniques. When you meet the man in person, he’s a calm, cool and collected guy who loves to fire up the grill, watch the Cubs and listen to The Grateful Dead. The coolest thing about Matt? He’s the exact same guy on the line in the kitchen. Calm, cool & collected.

He made it clear that while kitchen life is quite stressful from time to time, he focuses on maintaining a level head, even in the busiest moments, making sure the rest of his crew remains just as calm, knowing the stressful moments eventually pass when it’s all said and done. While a couple beers and a shot of whiskey certainly help after a long night at work, he says the creativity and variety of the ingredients we use in our dishes keep things exciting each and every day..and it makes it all worthwhile. The friendships and connections he’s made throughout his time at Brewster’s help make the days less stressful and he genuinely enjoys the love and loyalty we all have for one another.

Brewster’s wouldn’t be the same without you Matt, thank you for your patience, your talent & most importantly…for leading such an awesome kitchen staff. Your kindness & generosity never goes unnoticed & we appreciate all that you do for us, each & every day. Cheers!

Scott Schroeder

Scott Schroeder – Kitchen Manager

There’s this unspoken truth about Brewster’s that you learn once you’ve worked here for a few years. The restaurant, in a sense, runs itself. Even on the slowest of days, the ovens are still on, pans are clanking, deliveries are organized, food is prepped…there’s always something going on. People come and go…seasons change…but Brewster’s runs continuously. However, a restaurant can’t run without a solid foundation—one that’s long-standing, reliable, loyal and timely. That foundation at Brewster’s? Scott Schroeder, AKA “Homer”.

Born and raised in Michigan City, IN, Scott’s experience in the restaurant industry spans over 26 years, with experience in both the front and back of the house. Scott was the 2nd employee hired at Brewster’s Italian Café`–he’s seen the restaurant grow from a tiny café to a full-service restaurant. Originally hired as a server, Scott made himself useful throughout the entire restaurant by helping out in the kitchen when they were short-staffed. Eventually, management moved Scott into the kitchen for a full-time position, where he grew to become the kitchen manager and official “do-er of all things”.

From inventory and delivery management to continuous food prep and cooking throughout the day, you’ll literally never see Homer standing in one place. If you watch him for a few minutes, you begin to realize just how much he does for this place and how easily it would go to shambles without him. Scott is the epitome of someone who is continuously behind the scenes, never asking for the limelight, but always ensuring things are done properly to keep up the highest possible standards for Brewster’s.

His work doesn’t end after clocking out, however. Scott is one of the most dedicated husbands and fathers in the world, and he is truly the definition of a “family man”. When he’s not at Brewster’s, you can find him at home spending time with his wife and his kids, probably sipping on a “well-crafted beer or a lush glass of wine”, listening to Dean Martin or the Allman Brothers while cooking dinner for the family. Without his family, he says, he wouldn’t be where he’s at today. Throughout the best and the worst of times, his family has been his rock, his support and his anchor to what truly matters in life. His family, he says, is “his daily breath, the beautiful reason my days are a true blessing”.

Above all else, Scott’s vision for the future of Brewster’s represents the growth he’s experienced in himself throughout the years. Just as he once rose from the depths of the darkest times, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, he’s grown to be a wonderful husband and father and the most dedicated employee at Brewster’s. He hopes that the next 25 years of Brewster’s will be just as successful as the last 25 as our restaurant continues to evolve and transform. “Be creative with what you have available to you, take risks, cook with love and passion and it will show to the ones that love you!”

Brewster’s, according to Scott, is different than other restaurants because of the people who work there and the bonds they share. Whether it’s meeting up for a beer after work or building memories and laughs together at work, the connections made over the years are something you can’t find at just any restaurant.

Scott, you’ve seen it all as time has gone by at Brewster’s. You truly make this place what it is today. Without you, our restaurant wouldn’t run the way it does—it probably wouldn’t run at all! Every single one of us is grateful to have you, whether you know it or not, and you’re truly appreciated by each and every one of us. Your dedication to your family and your work is admirable and rare to find these days—you’re one-of-a-kind and we thank you for every single thing you do—we don’t tell you enough!

Steve Struyf

Steve Struyf – Sautee Chef

When you have a seasonal menu that changes every meal, every day like we do at Brewster’s, it requires a level of skill and versatility to come up with new dishes for both lunch and dinner service.. Knowledge of flavor profiles and combinations are important, but the key to creating appealing dishes for a wide customer base requires specific techniques in preparing the food, ensuring that each customer’s needs are met to the fullest. No cutting corners, no skipping steps. Our third installation in our chef focus series spotlights one of the most creative and interesting characters in the Brewster’s crew–Steve Struyf (aka “Beave).

Born and raised in the Bay Area in California,, Steve’s family moved out to Rolling Prairie, Indiana during his junior year of high school (culture shock, much?) After graduating high school, his 20 year experience began at The Grapevine Restaurant (now closed) in Rolling Prairie, Indiana. He then moved down to Key West, Florida, gaining experience working in seafood restaurants for two years, then returned to the Midwest to work at Portofino’s in La Porte, then moved on to a job with Brewster’s. Throughout his first time working at Brewster’s, he learned the most about cooking and technique from the veterans who had been there since day one. Taking this knowledge with him, he then packed up for Kansas City, MO, accepting a job at Room 39–gaining experience working in a fine-dining environment. Eventually,, Steve returned to LaPorte to work at Heston and then to his first job as Head Chef at Jimmy’s in New Buffalo, Michigan, bringing in more business than they’d ever seen with a unique menu reflecting the various restaurants he gained experience at. Eventually, his time at Jimmy’s ended with his return to his “home base” at Brewster’s.

With such a versatile background, he’s an asset to the restaurant because of his knowledge of so many different cooking techniques. A perfectionist to the T, he doesn’t miss a beat (ask the other guys in the kitchen…they’ll tell you. He’s always watching!). While it may drive some of us crazy from time to time, the restaurant wouldn’t reach it’s highest potential without having someone so focused on the details. He enjoys cooking because it allows him to express his creativity while working with a team in a fast-paced environment. The feeling of a successful night at work with the guys is what drives him to keep going and going. While the pressure may break some people, he truly enjoys the intensity of the job–the feeling of creating delicious food within the chaos of the kitchen is a rush that not everyone is equipped to do, but this guy thrives on it. While he does admit that it’s been difficult to miss out on holidays and weekends, he spends his days off spending time with the people he loves the most to make up for the time he misses out when at work. Steve wouldn’t be Steve without his work, and the people closest to Steve love that about him.

Like many other chefs, a shot of whiskey certainly eases the stress after a long night, but he says that reflecting alone after a service helps him truly unwind. His mind is always analyzing each and every detail of the night, looking for ways to make the next service even better. Again, perfectionism is in his DNA–it doesn’t stop after he’s clocked out. While some people are able to leave their work thoughts at work, Steve’s mind is constantly going and going as perfectionism and hard work drive him to perform. In his free time, he enjoys hip hop,, dancing and graffiti art, appreciating the technique and detail within these creative elements. The man could probably teach a class on the history of hip hop–he’ll never admit this though. He’s been to countless concerts and shows over the years and has a true passion for the things that he loves. Loyal to a fault, he spends his days off helping out friends and family with anything they need done. Yardwork? He’s on it. Shopping? He’s there. The man has an obsession with shoes…but we’ll get into that another time. Needless to say, his versatility and creativity are present throughout his entire life, not just in the restaurant.

One of his favorite things about Brewster’s is the sense of comfort and love he feels with all of the people here. Even after leaving for the first time years ago, he always recalled the fondest of memories at Brewster’s, and returned “home” to make the restaurant even better because of the love he has for the place. He likes the versatility of the job and all of the work that it takes to truly succeed at this place. While many other restaurants have multiple guys on one station, our guys are versatile enough to move from station to station to help out when needed, but the volume of tickets require someone who can do it all, consistently. Eventually, Steve hopes to open his own restaurant or food truck , bringing along all of the people he’s taught along the way (and trust us, there are many!) His loyalty to those he loves never falters, and while he may not always show it, he’s truly a genuine person who stays true to the people he cares about.

It’s rare to find people who stay true to who they are, no matter where they go. They learn what they can from different environments without sacrificing their sense of self. Steve, you are certainly one of the most unique individuals we have in our Brewster’s family. You might drive some of us crazy from time to time, reminding us to never cut corners or slack-always watching the clock to make sure we’re on time, and not a second late. Yet the world would be a messy, messy place without people like you. Your talent and creativity never ceases to amaze any of us or our customers, and your attention to detail is fascinating. The number of guys you’ve inspired and taught along the way proves how much talent you truly possess, and you don’t give yourself enough credit! Your versatility and experience and love for food is apparent with every dish you create–Brewster’s is lucky to have such a talented chef and we don’t tell you enough!

Konnor Koch

Konnor Koch – Sautee Chef

There are some people in this world who can see the positives in almost any situation. They don’t sweat the small stuff, they don’t lose themselves in the stresses of work, and most importantly, they’re able to put a smile on people’s faces. Kitchen life, as we’ve mentioned before, is one of the most mentally and physically taxing environments. The hours are long, breaks are minimal and the work requires constant attention and communication. It can be draining if there’s not someone around to keep up the morale. Luckily, we’ve got someone who knows just how to do that. It’s time to meet our next featured chef, Konnor Koch.

Life’s funny, isn’t it? Cliche as it may be, some of the best success stories start in the most unexpected situations. We take on side jobs to make extra cash, not knowing they’ll lead us directly to where we’re supposed to go with no rhyme or reason-we just get there. After briefly working a part-time job at Albano’s back in high school, Konnor had no plans of a future in the restaurant industry. However, in 2008, he accepted a job at Jimmy’s in New Buffalo, MI, where he was first introduced to someone who eventually became one of the most important people in his life, Steve Struyf (our last featured chef). He credits Steve for teaching him the skills necessary to work in a kitchen and becoming the cook he is today. A true partnership, Konnor and Steve’s time in the kitchen together is amazing to watch while they’re working. Because they’ve been around each other for so long, they move about the kitchen without speaking (and trust us, that’s nearly impossible in a place like Brewster’s). If you’ve known Steve and Konnor for awhile, you understand how important their friendship is to one another as they genuinely can read the other’s mind and know what the other needs. After taking some time off to pursue other interests, Konnor’s love for the industry called him back to Jimmy’s, where he grew into the leader and talented cook that he is today–and luckily for us, then joined the Brewster’s family in late 2015. With the skills he’s learned from both Steve and Chef Matt, he’s come into his own as a chef, putting himself out there by creating his own menus and leading the kitchen. He recently attended the International Pizza Expo in Vegas with one of our other Brewster’s crew members, Drew (featured next week) in Vegas and plans on competing with the Brewster’s pizza chefs in next year’s expo, opening an entirely new window of opportunity for the restaurant as we continue to evolve and expand.

One of the best things about Konnor is his ability to smile through the most stressful of times. Truth be told, he says his mantra for getting through the busiest dinner shifts is to remember, always, that “it’s just food”. That’s not to say he doesn’t take his job seriously–in fact, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Yet, for Konnor, food is food-it’s not worth losing your mind over a bad night. While he puts together amazing dishes when he’s running the show on sautee, his talent also lies within his ability to float from station to station with ease, whether it be salads and appetizers, running back to the dish pit, plating dishes as an expo, hopping on pizzas, and everything in between. He enjoys the collaborative nature of the job because it comes naturally to him. He’s able to make people feel comfortable around one another as they find common ground within the job itself. If anything, we all look forward to having Konnor around, because of his ability to make light of situations that sometimes seem hopeless in the moment. That’s beyond necessary when you work in this industry.

He says the hardest part about working in kitchens definitely is keeping a level head, but you’d never know it while watching him work. Because the job requires extreme focus, it’s easy to get frustrated if a mistake happens, but Konnor refuses to let an occasional mistake ruin the night for himself or anyone else around him. While he floats around from station to station, you can usually find Konnor as the expo on Friday and Saturday nights-he’s the friendly face in the window, always cracking jokes with his co-workers and making us smile until the stress is over and we can all go home (and of course, putting out delicious food and accomplishing the tasks at hand). That’s a job in itself, if you think about it, but that’s just the kind of person he is. His happiness stems from his ability to make others smile and remember that one mistake won’t ruin you forever. Again, it’s important to understand how rare it is to find someone like this in the restaurant industry. Stress is the number one reason for chef burnout, but guys like Konnor are a breath of fresh air to the kitchen life.

It’s hard to find people who aren’t afraid to be blunt and aren’t scared of asking the hard questions. If something doesn’t taste good, he’ll tell you. If something doesn’t look good, he’ll tell you. If your joke isn’t funny, he’ll tell you that too. It’s all in good fun, of course. He may enjoy cracking jokes and making people laugh, but he’s one of the most perceptive people in the restaurant and can tell when something is bothering someone. The best part about all of that? He usually knows what to say to cheer someone up.

When he’s not at work, Konnor’s interests are always expanding as he’s one of those people who is usually up for anything. However, if you know Konnor well, you know these things to be absolute truths: Skateboarding, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Marvel Comics are his real loves (along with a nice glass of chocolate milk or apple juice, and a glass of wine after a long night at work). He enjoys spending his days off with his friends and his girlfriend, Kim and her two kids, making all of us laugh whenever he’s around. From hip hop to death metal and anything in between, his music interests vary from genre to genre, just like his ability to move around from station to station at work. While he’s not sure if he’ll continue cooking forever, he plans on furthering his career in the industry as he eventually hopes to become a food rep, a career that would compliment his ability to move around from place to place, creating connections with people in all types of environments. He’s got an infectious, positive outlook on life and this will serve him well no matter what area of the industry he decides to pursue.

For Konnor, Brewster’s has been far more than just another workplace. Through his experiences here, he’s grown into the person he’d always known he could be, after all the hardships, ups and downs, and the chaos and confusion that define young adulthood, he’s proud of where he’s at today and knows that those closest to him love him for his past, present and his future. He’s met some of his closest friends that love him for who he is, no matter what. Konnor, thank you for your positivity and your ability to make us all smile when we’re down. You’re a leader through and through, not because you expect people to follow you, but because people naturally gravitate towards you. Your talents will only grow as you continue down the path towards success and you honestly make Brewster’s a better place. While you’ve been through some hard times throughout the years, you’ve made a name for yourself, never allowing the setbacks and struggles to define your future. No matter what, you always bounce back and try again and again. Your positive attitude is magnetic and we appreciate everything that you do! Whether it’s cooking or working as a food rep or whatever else may come your way, you’ve always got unconditional love and support from your Brewster’s family.

John Brewer

John Brewer

Kitchens are unique environments, the personality types are so different from one another and no one has the same story. Achieving success in this type of work requires the capability to handle an intense environment as a team player, moving up the ranks and understanding the process is part of the journey working upward. Every now and then, someone comes along who isn’t afraid to mix things up and seek out different methods to get things done, while still being mindful of the traditions that define the industry itself. We hope you enjoy our next spotlight on someone who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo and go against the grain—meet John Brewer, aka “JB”.

Born and raised in LaPorte, Indiana, JB’s kitchen experience spans over 15 years. He worked his way up through the ranks at Corndance Cafe in Culver, IN, then helped his family open Soe Café in Sawyer, MI where he ultimately became the souś chef. After a great run at Soe, he spent time at Corndance Cafe again, then on to Timothy’s in Union Pier and Pikk’s Tavern in Valparaiso, IN until a position at Brewster’s opened up, a platform to finally express himself in a more creative light and utilize his impressive technical skills he’d acquired over the years.No matter what, the kitchen will always be his home– it’s in his blood and part of who he is. JB’s passion for the food he creates reflect the experiences and struggles he’s pushed through over the course of his life—he takes the lessons he’s learned over time and applies them to better himself as he continues to grow, without sacrificing his individuality. His cooking style never compromises the ingredients or flavors of a dish, but the food consistently reflects a uniqueness that is distinctly his own. As someone who likes to think outside the box and look beyond the standard way of doing things, there’s nothing more exciting than the opportunity to create your own menu—it’s like a blank slate, every day. While some may avoid that type of constant uncertainty, JB thrives on it. The job requires someone who can improvise and act quickly, even when pressed for time. He handles the stress as it comes because after working in the industry for more than 15 years, it’s simply part of the life he’s chosen. End of story.Just when you think you know JB, there’s one thing that’s guaranteed: he never fails to surprise you. When he’s not working, his interests and hobbies range from swimming (he was a swimmer in high school), snowboarding, reading, playing the saxophone, listening to Jazz, collecting anything from old records and hats to watches and other random gadgets he’s found online (he’s always got something new to show everyone that he found). You never know what he’s going to bring in to work next to show to everyone, but we all look forward to it. JB’s always cracking jokes and making conversation and is happy to help wherever he can, whether at work or on his days off. When he’s got the time, he enjoys working on cars as well. In fact, he originally went to school to become an automotive mechanic, and wouldn’t mind pursuing that again at some point in the future, but he knows the kitchen will always call him back. In a society that’s so focused on forcing people into a certain way of life or a certain way of doing things and pressuring us to fit into a cookie-cutter mold, we’re lucky to have someone who will blur the lines and implement change when others refuse to take that risk.Some of the most successful people in this world have traveled down the most unconventional paths, ignoring critics who question their actions and instead, trusting the voice within themselves. JB, thank you for looking toward what lies ahead while staying true to who you are and for your focus on what “could be” instead of settling with “what is”…the world would be dull without minds like yours. Cheers!

Drew Evans

Drew Evans – Pizza Connoisseur

You might think you love pizza (seriously, who doesn’t?), but you’ve never met anyone who loves pizza THIS much. It’s one thing to have a vision, but it’s quite another to turn ideas into reality, and this is someone who does that on a daily basis. Happy Birthday, Drew! This one’s for you.


Drew’s love for pizza developed before he was even able to reach the countertop, recalling his childhood days spent in the kitchen with his grandfather, who would lift him up to pour the ingredients into the mixing bowl to make pizza dough. He jokingly says there’s “flour in his bloodline”, and is proud to carry on his family’s tradition of creating amazing, homemade pizzas every day. After moving to New Buffalo at the age of 10, Drew grew up walking past Brewster’s and eventually got a job there when he was 15, where he’d get his first taste of what kitchen life was really like. Once he got some experience playing around with the technique and ingredients, his passion in life started to bloom into a career at an early age.
Persuasive and persistent, Drew was able to convince his school to let him do a co-op cooking class back in high school, allowing him even more time to gain the experience and knowledge necessary to move up in the kitchen world. For the next ten years, Drew spent as much time as he could at Brewster’s to create the best pizzas possible, each and every day until 2012, when he moved to Lafayette after getting married.


After returning to the area, like so many other Brewster’s employees, he came back to the restaurant. This time, however, his vision and experience led him to take our pizzas to a whole new level. Never satisfied with things “as they are”, his initiative and creativity has taken our pizzas into an entirely new realm. While he knew our original cracker crust had always been popular, Drew’s goal to make Brewster’s a top pizza destination in the area started with adding his hand tossed sourdough crust to the menu. With two different types of pizza crusts, he knew the popularity of our pizzas would only go up, giving people the option to explore an entirely different style of pizza that isn’t available in many places throughout Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan. It’s hard to top our cracker crust, but he successfully added something just as amazing.
Always searching for more, Drew’s visit in March of 2016 to the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas inspired him to take the Brewster’s kitchen to the top. He plans to develop a team and recipes that can compete in top-notch competitions around the world to bring titles to our doors and the recognition of being one of the best pizzerias around. If all goes as planned, he says, the 2018 Las Vegas International Pizza expo will be their first step onto that world stage. For some people, dreams are just dreams. For people like Drew, however, dreams are nothing less than attainable.


While he loves pizzas more than anyone around, life in the kitchen, as we all know, can be hard to deal with. He says, “the pressures you live through every day [in the kitchen], can be almost crippling at times”. Long hours with late nights and weeks that pass by in the blink of an eye can get hard, but he states, “the true vision of a chef’s life is the passion for a true product—a product brought to completion by your own hands, something that started as a simple idea is now providing joy and happiness to someone”, and there’s not much else a chef can ask for than seeing a person’s positive reaction to the food being served. Again, while the stress is enough to drive even the most devoted chefs out of the kitchen from time to time, the happiness he’s able to provide through the pizzas he makes is what keeps him going, day after day.
When he’s not tossing pizza dough in the air or rolling dough ball after dough ball, you can find him spending as much time as possible with his beautiful and supportive wife, Christina, and their energetic son, Rhazie. He says, “every second spent with them melts away any bad hour at the oven”, and they’re the reason he has the ability to love anything strong enough to put all of his worth into. His devotion and love for his family is apparent not only at home, but at work too. He’s always chatting us up with stories of his son and wife who bring nothing but love and joy to his world and brighten up his days, even when he thinks the stress will never end. Sometimes, his wife will pop in and stop by the pizza window with their son, and it’s as if she just somehow knew that was exactly what he needed. These two make it all worthwhile for Drew as you can see the stress on his face immediately disappear when Christina and Rhazie come in. His dedication to not only his work, but also to his family, isn’t something you get to see enough of these days, and we’re lucky to have someone so devoted to what he loves at Brewster’s.
While he takes his work very seriously, you can still find Drew making jokes and commentary when you stop by the pizza window. Sarcasm is his second language—and no one can tell a story like Drew can. Sometimes, you need a little bit of humor to lighten up the crazy days in the kitchen, and you can always count on Drew to make an observation on something and inevitably, get a good laugh out of it.


There are so many people in the world who have ideas and visions on how to make something “better”, yet rarely do they follow through. However, Drew’s strongest asset is his ability to put his ideas into action and inspire others to always aspire to do more, regardless of what the job may be. His intelligence and creativity show through each and every pizza he makes and he continues to improve not only the pizzas on the menu, but the entire restaurant as a whole. While he may never give himself the credit he deserves as he’s always looking to get better, we are lucky to have someone as dedicated and talented as him. Drew, thank you for leading the restaurant into a new realm with your vision and passion. We appreciate you, respect you and just know that at the end of the day, the pizza station wouldn’t be where it is today without you. Cheers!