Rising Star Chef Matthew Vawter of Mercantile - Biography

Denver, CO

March 2017

Colorado native Matt Vawter started his culinary career at 14, working the line at The Claimjumper, a fast-paced, local breakfast joint in his hometown. Flipping pancakes sealed his career fate, and he set out to challenge himself in higher caliber restaurants. He landed at The Keystone Ranch with Chef David Welch, and just one year in, Vawter earned a culinary apprenticeship at Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute. The apprenticeship afforded him the opportunity to work in some of the state’s best restaurants—from kitchens in Keystone and a five-year stint with Vail Resorts to The Cellar, a Breckenridge wine bar, where he worked his way up to sous chef under Chef Mike Weist.

In 2007, Vawter relocated to Denver for a job with Chef Alex Seidel at Fruition, where he rose from garde-manger to chef de cuisine. His years at Fruition brought him national recognition. He was named to Zagat’s “30 Under 30” in 2014. When it came time for Seidel to launch a new venture, he tapped Vawter as a chef-partner for Mercantile Dining & Provisions in Union Station. Together, they made the huge leap from intimate fine-dining to a high-volume restaurant-market hybrid. From pastries at breakfast to heaping sandwiches at lunch and an elegant chef’s counter menu in the evening, Vawter has his hand in every detail while leading one of Denver’s largest, strongest culinary teams.