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Matt Gordon


									Matt Gordon
Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Urban Solace

                                              Road Map

                          14 years began working in Restaurant as bus boy

                                Entered College as an English Major

                                Switched to Environmental Studies

                           Left College, when offered Restaurant position

                     Improved Culinary knife skills while working as a Shoreman

                                  Executive Chef at Gordon Biersh

                          First Managerial Position at Cheesecake Factory

                                     Identifies career as a Chef

                                    Finds Mentor in Mark Stark

                                        Opens Urban Solace
                                                A True Artist

Matt Gordon is the Co-Owner and Executive Chef for Urbane Solace. Founding Partner and Executive
Chef, Matt Gordon is a 17-year veteran of the restaurant industry. He has headed numerous kitchen
operations ranging from formal fine dining to corporate restaurants and catering. Past positions include
Executive Chef at Willi's Seafood and Raw Bar in Healdsburg, California; Executive Chef and Food and
Beverage Department Head at Hospitality Inc. (Festivities) in San Diego, California; Executive Chef at
Scott's Seafood, in San Jose. Matt was also an Executive Chef at Gordon Biersch Brewing Company in
San Francisco, California; Opening management team member for the Cheesecake Factory in San
Francisco, California; Executive Sous Chef at Beaver Street Brewery and Whistlestop Café in Flagstaff,

Matt started out at the age of 14 as a bus boy and quickly worked his way through the restaurant
working as a waiter, prep cook, line cook, and ultimately, as Sous Chef at the age of 21. But throughout
High School and College, Matt viewed his culinary work experience only as a job and not a Career.

Matt entered College with hopes for a Bachelor Degree in English, then switched to Environmental
Studies but left college for Job Opportunities which included, Longshoreman where he learned proper
knife skills. For Matt, it wasn’t until the age of 28, while he was working as the Executive Chef for Scott’s
Seafood, that he realized food was his true passion. While at Scott’s Seafood, Matt was called out of the
kitchen by a world renown chef, George Morrone, who complemented him on his food. As Matt
explains, "it was the first time the light bulb went on about how and where this career could take me."
In 2001, Matt moved to San Diego with the goal of owning his own restaurant by the age of 35. With a
strong resume, Matt applied to 42 restaurants and received no interviews. As Matt explains, the
culinary culture in San Diego was different from the Bay Area. In San Diego, education and work
experience are both mandatory for career success. Matt persisted, and was hired by Festivities Catering
in 2001, where he worked for three years working his way to a management position. In 2004, Matt
found a mentor in Mark Stark, who has a “farm to table” philosophy.

                                            In 2006, at the age of 35, Matt opened up Urban Solace, in
                                            San Diego, California. This restaurant, which took a year and
                                            a half to create, was finally a true representation of the
                                            passion and vision which Matt created from years of
                                            culinary experience. Urban Solace defines itself as New
                                            American Comfort Food and takes classics like Mac and
                                            Cheese and transforms it to a culinary present of Duck and
                                            Cheese. Every item on the menu is a true testament to the
                                            passion Matt has for quality products and a passion for
                                            cooking. Urban Solace is also a “green” restaurant using
                                            only natural, hormone free meats and produce and
                                            vegetables from local farms. Everything down to the
                                            crackers made fresh from the kitchen. Since opening, Urban
Solace has been rated as one of the Best Restaurant by San Diego Magazine for 2008, 2009, and 2010. In
addition, Urban Solace has earned the Silver Fork Award by San Diego Home and Garden for 2008 and

Matt’s future professional goals include opening a new restaurant in Encinitas this year, as well as
providing food service to local bars throughout San Diego.

Matt’s Advice to Future Culinary Students:
“The word chef came from the French who call their chefs, Chef de Cuisine. Literally this means leader
of food. Chefs are leaders in the kitchen and a true leader must be able to not only show his creativity
and abilities through his food, but also have a natural ability to lead. Success in the kitchen requires a
chef to know the right questions to ask in order to continue to improve.”

The Bottom Line?


“Being a Chef means compromising your family time, your health, and your free time. Only enter this
field if your need to express yourself through your food is above everything else in your life.”

Interviewed by: Lisa Rodriguez

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