RIP Matt Prentice
He Will Be Missed
Our friend Matt Prentice built a restaurant empire that eventually stretched from a tiny deli in Oak Park to the top of the Renaissance Center. But as high as he soared, he never forgot that others not only didn’t share his good fortune, they weren’t even equipped to try to ride along.
Some of Chef Matt’s story is well known. He left the Culinary Institute of America when his father took ill. He took over that little, failing delicatessen, put his last $200 in the till – and his friends will laugh, they’ve heard that part so often – and started serving things like $5 Beef Wellington to customers who couldn’t believe their eyes or their luck.
The less well known part of his story is us.
Matt became an ally of Cass Community Social Services almost from the day he met Executive Director Rev. Faith Fowler. The Scott Building wasn’t even finished when he took a tour and picked up his phone. Reaching out to every kind of contact in the food and restaurant world, cajoling, calling in favors, he assembled the materials and manpower to create a commercial grade kitchen for the homeless shelter. From providing the bounty for countless fundraisers to spending five years heading up Cass’ kitchen and feeding programs, through good times and disappointing times for his own business, he never stopped looking for ways to help our organization and the thousands we serve.
We at Cass feel blessed to have known Matthew Prentice and to call him our dear friend.
In our sorrow over his passing, we are making plans to honor Matt in a way we know he would love: Feeding hungry people. Today we are raising money to create a small diner and bakery to be named Prentice Place and located in the Cass Community Social Services campus on Woodrow Wilson Street.