Matthew Bickford is a restaurant owner who has been cooking professionally for literally half his life. After gaining momentum during his first part-time cooking job in his teens, he has worked his way up through the ranks in various settings throughout the Twin Cities and beyond.
His first restaurant chef position was with D'Amico and Sons, where his dreams of opening a gourmet deli first took shape. He saw the relationship between good food and casual atmosphere, where even the most humble meal deserved fresh ingredients and quality technique.
Matthew then spent three years as the chef de cuisine at Zander Café in St. Paul. He was able to hone in on his own style of cooking while working in this neighborhood hot spot. He had the freedom to create meals and experiment with the freshest ingredients, as well as appreciate the loyalty of the regular clientele.
While at Zander Café, Matthew had been asked to work with Tim McKee and his crew at Solera Restaurant. Believing that it would be an incredible learning opportunity to work with the James Beard nominated chef, he switched gears and became the event chef in Solera's fast paced setting. He ended his tenure at Solera as the executive chef of three years, where he experienced the adventure of running a large, complex operation.
Matthew never lost sight of opening his own eatery, and eventually stepped down as the chef of Solera in order to concentrate on his own endeavor. He worked at La Belle Vie in the meantime, while planning his dreams.