Matt Fortner became Chef of Lola in 2016 after three years as Chef at Tom Douglas’ Trattoria Cuoco in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle. Matt's passion for Mediterranean cuisine has suited him well at Lola. He focuses his attention on utilizing the best of the season’s vegetables and on whole animal butchery. Matt says he originally thought he might become a pastry chef, but the exacting, regimented nature of pastry didn't fit his personality. So he married a pastry chef instead- Tom Douglas Restaurants Pastry Chef Stacy Fortner.
Matt and Stacy have intense culinary memories of their travels through South America where they ate everything from guinea pigs and roast lamb in Patagonia to beef in Buenos Aires. The best meal of Matt's life was in the market of Valparaiso, Chile, where he ate many different types of seafood, raw clams, oysters, and some creatures he had never encountered before.
Matt, who grew up in Tennessee, attended a year of culinary school at the Art Institute of Seattle. His first chef job was at Marjorie for 2½ years. He was also chef of How to Cook a Wolf for 2 years and chef of Tavolata for 2 years.
Matt lives with Stacy in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle in a house with a chicken coop full of guinea hens in the back yard.