Pastry Chef Matthew Petersen of CityZen - Biography

Washington, DC

August 2012

Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Matthew Petersen was surrounded by a family of bakers. After high school, he studied baking and pastry arts at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. After graduation, Petersen stayed in the area, taking the pastry chef position at the Relais and Châteaux property Castle Hill Inn and Resort in Newport. After living in Rhode Island for a few years, he moved back home, and took over the position of pastry chef at Morimoto in Philadelphia. He was quickly lured by Jean-Marie LaCroix to take over as pastry chef at his eponymous restaurant LaCroix.

Working with LaCroix and Head Pastry Chef Fredrick Ortega, Petersen was able to refine his style and technique. This experience proved invaluable in many ways and also led him to an introduction to Daniel Boulud, a good friend of Lacroix. During a stage at restaurant Daniel in New York, Boulud offered Petersen a chance to be the pastry chef at his midtown restaurant, DB Bistro Moderne, which Petersen happily accepted. After only a year in New York, Boulud called Petersen south to Palm Beach and Café Boulud.

Petersen worked as pastry chef at Café Boulud for two years before the desire to move back up north settled in. Although it was difficult to leave Boulud, Petersen joined CityZen and Sou’Wester at Mandarin Oriental, Washington, DC, as executive pastry chef. And his work helped CityZen retain its four-star status and gain two and a half stars for Sou’Wester from the Washington Post. In 2011, he was one of 14 pastry chefs selected to compete on “Top Chef Just Desserts.” Although Petersen worked hard to make it to the finale, only to fall short of the win, he was voted fan favorite by viewers.