Chef/Owner Conifer Restaurant
Raised throughout Arkansas, where he learned a passion for food and people from a family of
food technologists and ministers, Matthew Cooper pursued his culinary training in the Pacific
Northwest at Le Cordon Bleu. From exposure to both sustainability focused food as well as
European cuisine, Matthew began his journey developing his signature rustic style of cooking
that pulls its roots from his upbringing in the Natural State and influence in the Pacific
After working as an Executive chef in Little Rock, Matt Cooper relocated to Bentonville as the
founding chef of The Preacher’s Son, which has now been nominated for a James Beard in
Design 2018, and James Beard Hospitality 2022.
In Summer of 2022, Matthew plans to open his first independent restaurant as Chef/Owner,
Inspired by human connection to nature, Conifer is meant to contribute to the development of a
healthy community, like a forest, that is strong, diverse and supportive of its members. As the
trees spread their seeds, so spreads change, new growth, and deeper connections.
Conifer specializes in building up local farmers, pushing for sustainability, and striving for
meaningful human connection among all stakeholders in the restaurant.
He is passionate about creating a family atmosphere within which everyone feels valued, and
can learn and grow in a creative environment. He takes the same approach with his food.
Conifer is a completely gluten free kitchen as Chef Cooper has Celiac disease, and the
restaurant safely accommodates all dietary restrictions.
“Relationships matter, and we approach our food program in a sustainable, locally-sourced way.
We cultivate strong connections with our farmers and their families,” said Chef Matthew.
When not working, Chef Matt values time with Priscilla, his partner of 20 years, their daughter,
Lillian, and their 3 dogs and a parrot. Living in Bentonville, he feels that both work and home
families are a part of a community whose goal is to make a difference in the surrounding region—
and the world.