Chef Carlo Lamagna of Magna - Biography

Portland, OR

September 2017

Philippines-born Carlo Lamagna was 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 on to a surgical residency in the Philippines, and 11-year-old Lamagna went with him.

He returned to Detroit to continue his college education. Lamagna eventually dropped out but found direction in restaurant kitchens. In 2005, he graduated from community college with a culinary arts degree, and found a mentor in Certified Master Chef Brian Beland at Country Club of Detroit. He then went on to polish his growing skillsets at the Culinary Institute of America. There, he had a run in with Thomas Keller, who had this 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?” 

Next, Lamagna worked at Chicago’s North Pond, taking a sabbatical after his father died, and practicing charcuterie in Germany and country cooking in Lyon, France. He then spent two years at Perennial with Paul Virant, who helped Lamagna develop a Filipino dish for the menu. 
Seeking the next challenge, he moved to Portland, Oregon, and became executive chef of Nate Tilden’s Clyde Common. During his three-year tenure, Lamagna started a side project called Twisted Filipino. The pop-up was an outlet for his personal mission to amplify and elevate Filipino cuisine in Portland and beyond. In 2017, Lamagna launched Magna with Tilden. Magna is now popping-up and will open with a fire pit out front and progressive Filipino menu inside in summer 2018. It will be the first restaurant of its kind in Portland.