Our Mission

Our Team

While most companies have one or two dedicated center-of-the-plate specialists, we have four. Meet the experts below:

Dennis Markwardt

President
After serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, Dennis joined the family business in 1972. Dennis and H. A. Kern worked side-by-side to build Kern Meat Company as the premier protein supplier in the area.

Matthew Sherman, Ph.D.

General Manager
After working in the plant as a part-time selector and meat cutter between college semesters, Matt joined Kern Meat Company in 2008 as the general manager. He is responsible for the overall operation of Kern Meat Company, which includes production, sales, operations, purchasing, and the food safety program. Matt serves on the ACF Chefs de Cuisine Governing Board, and is a board member of the St. Louis Chefs de Cuisine Educational Foundation.

Chef Matt Bessler

Sales
Chef Matt was hired as our Corporate Executive Chef after years of being a Kern Meat Company customer at the award-winning Libertine in Clayton. After graduating with a culinary arts degree from Forest Park Community College, he worked 14 years at The St. Louis Brewery. He brings 22 years of restaurant and culinary experience. Matt has extensive knowledge with menu conception, execution, and production.

Jesse Leonard

Sales
Hired in 2011, Jesse brings nearly 50 years of food service experience to Kern Meat Company. After a stint at a large foodservice company, Jesse wanted to return to a family owned and operated meat company. Jesse is an expert in further processed and cured meats, pork, and deli meats.