Chef Matt Hill of Charlie Palmer Steak - Biography

Washington, DC

August 2010

Matt Hill isn’t a desk-job kind of guy. He figured that out after he went to business school at the University of North Carolina in Asheville. Hill had grown up with farm-fresh food from his grandparent’s farm, where they raised cotton and soybean for a living, and cattle, chickens, and pigs on the side. Although he didn’t know it then, he started his career in the food business when he took a dishwashing job at a local pizzeria at the age of 14—it was one of the few jobs that he could get at that age.

After a go at college, Hill started working in one of Charlotte, North Carolina’s well-known restaurants, Etienne Jaulin’s Townhouse; he got a feel for creating classical French cuisine and decided to take it to the next level. Hill enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America when he was 21 and graduated in 2000. He worked in a series of New York City restaurants, including Craft, Theo, and Aureole, where he first met Charlie Palmer.

After years of training in various Palmer kitchens, Hill recently opened, as executive chef, Palmer’s third eponymous steakhouse and his seafood restaurant, Fin Fish in Reno, Nevada. Hill returned to lead the kitchen at Palmer's power-dining Washington, DC steakhouse, Charlie Palmer Steak, where he was previously on the opening team. Here, the Palmer disciple balances classic with innovative steak house fare that has put the restaurant in the Washingtonian’s top 20 restaurants list and The Washington Post’s top five steak restaurants list.