Executive Chef, Urban Farmer Portland
Chef Matt Christianson focuses on redefining the modern steakhouse with an emphasis on Northwest, sustainable ingredients and simple, straightforward preparations in his role of executive chef at Urban Farmer in The Nines Hotel.
At Urban Farmer, he runs a staff of 75 and is constantly inspired by teaching and working with so many employees. “My success as a chef is in teaching people what my vision is. I love being able to instruct, inspire and see other people execute my vision in the kitchen,” said Christianson.
He credits his parents for his love of teaching – his mom was a 5th grade teacher and his dad was an art teacher. He knows he inherited patience from his mom and his creative aesthetic from his father. Christianson brings both these characteristics to his day job by inspiring his staff at Urban Farmer by mentoring them in the industry in addition to creating beautiful plates of food.
Christianson’s largest influence is the regional food culture of San Francisco from 1999 to 2005. He loves the idea of a food community and treating ingredients as well as your neighbor treats them. He emphasizes this philosophy at Urban Farmer by maintaining excellent relationships with farmers and being “farmer-centric”.
Christianson has learned to unite his love of working with farmers and local product with his affinity with for urban environment. 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. Christianson then moved to Evanston, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, to work at Trio. The trenches at Trio convinced him to pursue culinary school, and he moved from the Midwest to the East Coast, specifically the CIA’s idyllic Hyde Park campus, where he graduated in 1997 with an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts.
Fresh out of culinary school, Christianson traveled across the country to work with Bradley Ogden and the Lark Creek Restaurant Group. He quickly worked his way up the ranks to executive chef at the group’s Lark Creek Inn. While there, Christianson got a taste for farm-to-table cuisine, and loved cultivating relationships with local farmers and growers. But craving the experience of a high volume urban restaurant, Christianson accepted a position as chef de cuisine at Ogden’s One Market in San Francisco. And later, lured to Boulder, Colorado, to be near family, Christianson became the executive chef at Q’s Restaurant in the historic Hotel Boulderado, where he learned firsthand the demands of a full service hotel chef job. Meanwhile, he partnered with many local ranchers near Boulder. From Boulder, Christianson settled in Portland where he became the Executive Chef at Urban Farmer.
When Christianson isn’t in the kitchen, he’s spending time with his sons, biking or building something with his hands.
General Manager, Urban Farmer Portland
Jeff Brown has spent his career learning the ins and outs of the hospitality industry. Brown attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he graduated with a degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Administration. He took his degree and immediately started working in restaurant management.
From the earliest part of his career at the Marriott in Boston, Brown helped increase revenue and sales as well as positively increased the customer service experience at every level. From the Marriott, he moved to Morton’s where he spent eight years as the manager at multiple locations to increase revenue, train employees, and to develop concierge programs with local hotels.
Wanting to get back into hotels, Brown began working at a Kimpton Hotels and Restaurant property, Jsix in San Diego as Area Director of Restaurant Operations. He was part of the opening team for Hotel Palomar in La Jolla and his team received several awards as well as culinary awards for their work at Jsix.
Brown has proven himself to be an innovative and results orientated executive who is experienced in managing large operations, maximizing marketing opportunities, and developing staff to achieve their goals.
Brown accepted the General Manager of Restaurants position with Sage Restaurant Group in Portland, Oregon in October of 2012. In this role, he oversees operations of Departure Restaurant and Lounge as well as Urban Farmer Restaurant. Brown was thrilled to move to Portland because he is very excited to be part of the bustling food community.
He is passionate about technology, social media, and the local food movement and brings those perspectives to his role at Sage Restaurant Group. Outside of the restaurants, Brown can be found spending time with his wife and two children, gardening, or playing a round of golf.