Zinc Bistro, The Mission, The House Brasserie, Fat OX
Like many chefs, Matt Carter’s culinary career began as a dishwasher. He’d moved to California from his native Arizona, and took a barely-bill-paying job washing dishes at The Eggery breakfast restaurant in San Diego. But something happened. Carter immediately took to the restaurant business and made his way to the line, working as a prep cook. He fell in love with idea of embarking on a career in the kitchen, so he enrolled at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, graduating in 1989.
After culinary school, Carter cooked at Scottsdale’s La Chaumiere, where he was immediately obsessed with the artistry, demands and disciplines of French gastronomy. His experience there inspired him to pursue additional classical training in Paris, where he took courses at Le Cordon Bleu and refined his skills at various restaurants.
Upon his return to Arizona in 1992, his Parisian experience helped him land a job as Chef de Partie at Christopher’s Fermier Brasserie, the highly acclaimed restaurant of chef/restaurateur Christopher Gross. He cooked there for more than six years, ascending to the position of Chef de Cuisine.
Thanks to a chance meeting with Chef Thomas Keller in 1998, Carter was given the opportunity to cook in another acclaimed kitchen—the illustrious French Laundry in Napa Valley. After working as Chef Poissonnier (fish cook) for Keller, Carter returned to Scottsdale to work as Executive Chef at Michael’s at the Citadel. After two-and-a-half years at Michael’s, he left to collaborate with restaurateur Terry Ellisor in creating Zinc Bistro in 2001. To this day, Zinc Bistro remains the benchmark for casual yet refined French bistro cooking in Arizona.
In 2008, Carter teamed up with Ellisor and entrepreneur Brian Raab to create The Mission restaurant, which serves Modern Latin Cuisine. Next, the trio opened The House Brasserie inside the second-oldest house in downtown Scottsdale; a stylishly-renovated space featuring a menu that blends classic French techniques with globally inspired dishes.
Most recently, Carter and Brian Raab teamed up with fellow Valley native and longtime restaurateur, Mark Drinkwater, to open Fat OX in Scottsdale, as well as open a second location of The Mission inside Kierland Commons in North Scottsdale. Named after the iconic Italian Bue Grasso cattle, food & wine festival, Fat OX serves up modern takes on the authentic and hearty recipes of rural Italy.