“How can we rethink what the standards are for immersion? We don’t hide things. The kitchen’s open. We take people through the downstairs into the cellar. It’s basically your home. It’s that heritage of place, capturing this time and being able to share that.”
We’re in great company with Matt Lightner, a world-renowned and awarded chef with a passion for bringing people closer to nature through his innovative farming, immersive dining, and sensorial hospitality experiences.
His latest venture as Chef and Partner of the recently restored and newly opened Tributary Hotel and its adjoining restaurant ōkta, blends all of this together in the perfect presentation of what makes the Pacific Northwest so rich as a region - a place Matt lovingly calls home and invites guests to too.
In this episode, Matt shares how his passion for hospitality goes beyond people and place - to create immersive experiences that evoke all of the senses and celebrate the change in seasons.
[2:00] From a young age, out of necessity, Matt Lightner found a passion for cooking with his hands and a love for watching people gather together over a meal.
[3:30] Inspired by El Bulli during his time in Spain and the trend in immersive dining in Europe, Matt returned to Portland, set on creating futuristic and progressive experiences around food.
[4:10] It didn’t take long for Matt’s unique approach to cooking to catch the attention of the hospitality industry as he won Food & Wine’s Best New Chef and was nominated for James Beard Rising Star Chef while at Castagna, before moving to New York and quickly collecting two coveted Michelin stars for his restaurant Atera.
[5:40] With a longing to return to the Willamette Valley to put the Pacific Northwest, its rich agricultural landscape and wine culture on the world map, Matt is doing exactly that.
[16:45] How a restored historical building in the heart of downtown with its craftsmanship attention to detail, is juxtaposed in an intentional manner, to the design of its adjoining restaurant where the attention to detail is on the food itself.
[19:00] Paying “Tribute” to the terroir, the waterways and the weather, Matt explains the meaning behind both Tributary Hotel and its restaurant ōkta.
[25:40] “Bed and breakfast” is an experience unto itself at the Tributary Hotel with woodfired baked goods, farm fresh eggs, larder crafted vinegars and oils, all presented in a way that evokes grazing.
[31:00] The story of a ceramist shows the power of building and growing as a local community of growers, vintners, artists, makers and purveyors.
[33:20] The seasons inspire the menu. Hear why this summer’s menu is titled “The Kindle.”
- elBulli, Girona, Spain
- Atera, New York City, New York
- Portland’s Restaurant Scene
- Gregory Gourdet at kann
- Vince Nguyen at berlu