Matt Lambert

Head Chef at the Musket Room NYC


The Chef wasn't sure how to answer a diner’s question about a menu item at one of New York’s newest Michelin star restaurants. So he made a phone call, from table-side to New Zealand. The question was about Cervena venison, the call was to Deer Industry New Zealand. The chef didn’t know anyone at DINZ but that wasn’t going to stop him satisfying his guest’s curiosity.

This is a perfect illustration of what Deer Industry New Zealand Chairman, Andy Macfarlane, addressed at the Annual Conference -- delivering on the P2P strategy is about having the right people contributing 110% at every stage of the value chain.

The Chef who made the call is Matt Lambert, who in July became the newest Cervena Ambassador Chef.

At the end of the value chain, where the protein hits the plate, in one of the undisputed culinary capitals of the world, New York, the Kiwi expat chef is totally committed to turning his passion for New Zealand venison into profit at his restaurant The Musket Room. In the process he is shining a bright media light on Cervena Venison and the New Zealand deer industry.

The Musket Room is the youngest New York restaurant ever to receive a Michelin Star – just 4 months after opening in 2013. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes, and its top seller since opening, is New Zealand red deer with flavors of gin.

The Musket Room was voted Open Table’s Diners Choice, and won the Hospitality Design Award for Upscale Restaurant Design. Impressive, but perhaps not unexpected from a chef who tried to get his first restaurant job at age 11, raised the money to set up the Musket Room via a Kickstarter campaign and, calls New Zealand to get the answer to a customer’s question in the middle of service.  

In his first month as a Cervena Ambassador Chef, Matt appeared on CBS TV and was featured in the Wall Street Journal. On both occasions he talked enthusiastically about Cervena venison and his passion for New Zealand food. The combined audience for the two media outlets is over 5 million people.

Later this year Matt will be in New Zealand; touring a venison processing plant, visiting farms, and meeting with farmers – learning as much as possible about the product so he can represent it with the same care, commitment and attention to detail our farmers and processors devote to it.

Cervena is the Musket Room’s top selling dish so if you find yourself in need of a spectacular dining experience in New York stop by and check out the menu. Learn more at




And yes, there is a garden out the back of the Musket Room that supplies the kitchen. 

Matt Lambert