Matt Christianson, 35, understands the importance of partnering with local farmers, purveyors and producers who bring him fresh, seasonal ingredients – from Oregon truffles to grass-fed beef for the Urban Farmer, the modern American steakhouse in the Nines Hotel in Portland, Oregon. As the new executive chef, Christianson brings a decade of experience working first as a line cook and working his way up the ranks to executive chef. A 1997 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, Christianson earned an associates degree in Culinary Arts. Prior to enrolling in culinary school, his first foray into the kitchen was as a line cook in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he worked for four years at the award-winning Fanny Hill Victoria Inn. He then moved to Evanston, Illinois to work at the acclaimed Trio Restaurant.
In 1997, fresh out of culinary school, Christianson traveled cross country to work with Bradley Ogden and Michael Dellar of the Lark Creek Restaurant Group. The partners recognized Christianson’s talents and he quickly made his way through the ranks at the esteemed Lark Creek Inn – from line cook to executive chef. It was at the Lark Creek Inn where he first understood the importance of farm to table cooking and cultivating relationships with local farmers and growers. Christianson wanted to experience a high volume, urban restaurant and accepted the chef de cuisine at another one of Bradley Ogden’s restaurants, One Market in San Francisco. Lured to Boulder, Colorado to be near family, Christianson became the executive chef at Q’s Restaurant in the historic Hotel Boulderado. Here he experienced the demands of a full service hotel serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as room service and banquets. He also partnered with many local ranchers near Boulder and became passionate about knowing where his meat was sourced.
At Urban Farmer, Christianson oversees both the restaurant and banquet services for the Nines Hotel. The modern steakhouse features a menu emphasizing a wide range of beef raised both in the Pacific Northwest and Texas – from Highland Oak Beef from Oregon to Wagyu from Straub Ranch in Texas. With a focus on locally sourced ingredients, Christianson and his team work closely with local farmers, ranchers and growers to highlight fresh, seasonal products.
An active participant in the food and philanthropic community, Christianson has been involved with the Make a Wish Foundation, the James Beard Foundation, Yolo Land Trust and Boulder County AIDS Project. He lives in West Linn, Oregon with his wife and two sons and enjoys making his classic homemade meatloaf.