Sommelier Matthew Pridgen of Catalan Food and Wine - Biography

Houston, Texas

April 2011

A fifth-generation Texan with small-town East Texas roots, Matthew Pridgen and his three older siblings enjoyed a ranch-family lifestyle that included helping their mother prepare supper each night. Pridgen’s passion for food was piqued as he assisted his mother transform fresh meat and produce into satisfying evening meals. This hands-on kitchen experience came in handy when Pridgen was on his own as a college student, experimenting in the kitchen and dabbling with wine pairings. To help make ends meet, Pridgen drew upon the strong work ethic, typical of his farming and ranching community, and jumped feet first into a bartending position at Mark’s American Cuisine in Houston. There, his talents were quickly recognized, and Pridgen was tapped to run the restaurant’s wine program, a position he held for eight years. Under Pridgen’s guidance, the Mark’s wine list was consistently propelled into the media spotlight.

Pridgen’s childhood lessons in the kitchen and experience in the restaurant business positioned him as an ideal addition to the Catalan Food and Wine team. As General Manager, a position he has held since 2006, Pridgen supervises and administers Catalan’s day-to-day operations. His sharp eye for detail, discerning taste buds, and extensive wine knowledge ensures memorable dining experiences, especially when paired with the tantalizing cuisine of 2011 Houston Rising Star Chef Chris Shepherd. Pridgen’s ranch childhood makes him a natural fit with the restaurant’s farm-centric cuisine. Among his extensive accomplishments, Pridgen holds First Level Accreditation for Court of Master Sommeliers and his wine lists have consistently ranked among My Table magazine’s finest.