Matt Straus has been working in food service for the past twenty-three years, beginning with a stint at the neighborhood McDonald’s when he was fourteen. He worked primarily in kitchens until he graduated from college, at which point he began an extended involvement with service and wine. Prior to moving to Los Angeles in 2000, he worked in renowned Boston restaurants such as The Tuscan Grill, The Harvest and The Federalist, as well as with the acclaimed late French chef Sophie Parker, in Saratoga Springs, New York.
In his first five years in L.A., Matt held service positions at Campanile, L’Orangerie, Sona and Grace, where he performed the duties of wine director, managing a service staff of twenty and a wine list of almost 400 labels. In March 2005, Matt returned to the kitchen after studying European cuisine at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in Vancouver, B.C.
Following his culinary education, a return to Southern California and kitchen stints at two Los Angeles restaurants, Matt became wine director of the brand new Wilshire restaurant in Santa Monica–a post he would hold for three years, and one which provided him with the opportunity to apply his skills and experience and build a wine culture from the ground up.
During his time at Wilshire, Anthony Dias Blue honored Matt as the Best Wine Buyer/Sommelier in Los Angeles in Patterson’s Beverage Journal, StarChefs.com named him a Rising Star Sommelier, and Food and Wine Magazine called his wine list at Wilshire one of the Ten Best New Wine Lists in the country.
Matt presently lives in San Francisco, where he owns Heirloom Cafe, a restaurant dedicated to high-quality, simple food and great wine. He was named one of the top sommeliers of 2011 by Food and Wine Magazine.