Chef-owner Lisa Schroeder was juggling a marketing career, catering, and raising her daughter when she realized there was nowhere that served the kind of food she would make if she had the time–slow-cooked dishes made with love. She spent the next eight years working toward opening such a restaurant.
Determined to learn the right techniques, she attended The Culinary Institute of America and was selected as a Top Ten Student Chef by Food and Wine Magazine. She honed her skills at Lespinasse and Le Cirque in New York, and apprenticed in France with Mark Veyrat and Roger Verge. She toured Italy, Spain, Morocco, and Switzerland to gain an understanding of regional cuisine and indigenous foods before relocating to Portland, Oregon. For two years, she was chef at Besaw's Café before opening Mother’s Bistro & Bar in 2000. She’s also an author, mother, and grandmother. In addition to a menu offering refined versions of traditional home-cooked dishes, Lisa celebrates the cuisine of a different mother each month, lovingly referred to as the “Mother of the Month” (or “M.O.M.”).
Schroeder opened Mama Mia Trattoria in 2004, introducing Portland to the classic Italian dishes she grew up on in Philadelphia’s Little Italy. In 2009, she released her critically-acclaimed cookbook, Mother's Best. She is the recipient of the Portland Business Journal's Businesswoman of the Year award and IACP’s Chef Restaurateur Award of Excellence. Schoeder is also an active member of the community, participating in events to support numerous local charities and small businesses.