Matt Sigler, Renata
What They Feed:
wood-fired Italian fare that pays homage to the whole animal, the bounty of the Pacific NW and the culinary heritage of Italy
Seeders & Feeders They Support:
Vibrant Valley Farm, Red Truck Farm, The Side Yard Farm, Viridian Farm, Baird Family Orchards, Gathering Together Farm, Groundwork Organics, Scratch Farms, DeNoble Farm, Cattail Creek Lamb, Payne Family Farm, Ancient Heritage Dairy, Camas Country Mill
Matt Sigler grew up in a small town in Nebraska and gained an early appreciation of food through his family. His grandparents were classic Midwest farmers, raising cattle and corn; his father’s mother Sicilian in heritage. She was an amazing cook, as were her brothers, who also lived in the area and had a great influence on Matt growing up.
When it came time, Matt moved to Nashville to go to college. He started dishwashing and then cooking in restaurants and eventually dropped out to pursue cooking full time. It was the start of the “Food Network” era and Matt became enamored with the idea of a career as a chef.
He went to culinary school in San Francisco, which he describes as being “eye-opening”. All of the fresh, local produce – which tasted even better than one could imagine! – it was a whole new experience for Matt.
An internship at the renowned Quince Restaurant brought on an “aha moment” and Matt knew that pasta was his thing. He then went on to work at Foreign Cinema, where Gayle Pirie (“one of the daughters of Alice Waters,” says Matt) was a big influence on him. He learned a lot about how to relate to and utilize the incredible local products that were coming into the kitchen.
In 2009, Matt walked into the construction site for what was to become Flour + Water and asked for a job. “My experience there is what shaped me” Matt declares. He spent four years with the NE Timeas restaurant group, as a cook and then Chef de Cuisine at Flour + Water also opening the Salumeria. It was intense and incredibly hard work, but also invaluable.
Eventually Matt felt the need to go do his own thing. He headed back to the Midwest and spent time in Chicago as a chef and consulting for the Amita Francesca Group.
Through his San Francisco connections, the opportunity to move and open a new restaurant in Portland came onto Matt’s radar and was too good to pass up. Nick and Sandra Arnerich, with many years of collective experience working at Portland’s Wildwood, Yountville’s French Laundry and San Francisco’s Delfina Restaurant Group and Benu, were returning to Nick’s hometown of Portland to pursue their dream of opening a restaurant.
Before making the move West, Matt took time to travel and work in Italy and Colombia. In late 2014 he landed in Portland and dove into the rigors of opening a restaurant.
Renata, which opened its doors in June 2015, is a contemporary Italian restaurant that takes influence from the seasons and finds inspiration in the different regions of Italy and the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. With the restaurant build, Nick and Sandra included a wood-fired pizza oven and hearth in the open kitchen and a large prep kitchen in the back to facilitate whole animal butchery and in-house salumi and pasta production. A local creamery called Ancient Heritage Dairy and a private dining space also take up part of the building.
Matt has fully embraced the Portland and the Pacific Northwest. “It’s a beautiful city and I feel very fortunate to be here”. He acquainted himself with the local farmers and producers and has created valuable relationships with those that supply Renata with their ingredients through the seasons.
Renata has quickly quickly becoming recognized as one of Portland’s top dining destinations, while remaining true to its welcoming family-centric roots and neighborhood ethos. Matt looks forward to continuing to grow and expand with the restaurant in this ever-evolving city.