Chef Carlo Lamagna of Magna - Biography

Portland, OR

September 2017

Born in the Philippines, Carlo Lamagna was just 9 months old when his family immigrated to Canada. His parents were nurses, and when their contracts were up, the family moved to Detroit. Lamagna’s father went onto medical school and a surgical residency in the Philippines, and Lamagna and his brother came to live with him. Lamagna was 11 and went straight into high school, graduating by the time he was 16 and moving on to college.

Lamagna returned to Detroit to continue his college education. He floundered and dropped out, but eventually found direction in restaurant kitchens. Getting his footing, he enrolled at Macomb Community College and graduated with a culinary arts degree in 2005. He found a mentor in Certified Master Chef Brain Beland at Country Club of Detroit before formalizing and polishing his growing skillsets at the Culinary Institute of America, where he had a run in with Thomas Keller who gave him some advice: “Persevere. A lot of people have passion and drive. But what do you do after that runs out, to break through to the next level?”  

From the CIA, Lamagna worked for nearly two years at Chicago’s North Pond and another two at Perennial with Paul Virant, who helped Lamagna develop a Filipino dish for the menu. Next, Lamagna moved to Portland, Oregon, where he was executive chef of beloved Clyde Common for more than three years. Unable to suppress his love for and pride in Filipino food any longer, in 2017 Lamagna launched Magna, a progressive Filipino pop-up that will soon become Portland’s first fine Filipino restaurant.