Rising Star Chef Matt Christianson of Urban Farmer - Biography

Portland, OR

November 2011

Through years of experience, Matt Christianson has learned to unite his love of working with farmers and local product with his affinity with for urban environment. Christianson’s first foray into the kitchen was as a line cook in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he worked for four years at the award-winning Fanny Hill Victoria Inn. Christianson then moved to Evanston, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, to work at Trio. The trenches at Trio convinced Christianson to pursue culinary school, and he moved from the Midwest to the East Coast, specifically the CIA’s idyllic Hyde Park campus, where Christianson graduated in 1997 with an associates degree in Culinary Arts.

Fresh out of culinary school, Christianson traveled across the country to work with Bradley Ogden and the Lark Creek Restaurant Group. He quickly worked his way up the ranks to executive chef at the group’s Lark Creek Inn. While there, he got a taste for farm-to-table cuisine, and loved cultivating relationships with local farmers and growers. But craving the experience of a high volume urban restaurant, Christianson accepted a position as chef de cuisine at Ogden’s One Market in San Francisco. And later, lured to Boulder, Colorado, to be near family, Christianson became the executive chef at Q’s Restaurant in the historic Hotel Boulderado, where he learned firsthand the demands of a full service hotel chef job. Meanwhile, he partnered with many local ranchers near Boulder.

At Urban Farmer, Christianson unites his city savvy with cultivated ideals. At the restaurant (a modern steakhouse with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients) the chef focuses on a wide range of beef sourced both in the Pacific Northwest and Texas—from Oregon’s Highland Oak Beef to Waygu from Straub Ranch in Texas. In his spare time, Christianson’s an active participant in the food and philanthropic community, and he has been involved with the Make a Wish Foundation, Yolo Land Trust, and Boulder County AIDS Project.