Carlo Lamagna, Clyde Common & Twisted Filipino
What They Feed:
foreign & domestic cuisine inspired by the farmers & ingredients of the Pacific Northwest and his Filipino roots
Seeders & Feeders They Support:
“Food is an accumulation of who you are and all your influences
as an individual and chef.”
This is what Carlo Lamagna is all about. As a chef very dedicated to his craft, he lives by these words. Carlo has a vast background in multiple cultures and countries and his passion for fresh ingredients goes back to his childhood.
Born in the Philippines, but relocated to Detroit as a small child, Carlo has very early memories of his family going to the farms outside the city to get goats and vegetables. Surrounded by his parents, siblings and extended family, Carlo was immersed in the traditions of his family’s Filipino roots, including using the whole animal.
Carlo spent most of his teenage years back in the Philippines, where cooking is much more organic and down to earth. The open-air food markets were his favorite part – one could watch whole hog and cows being butchered right there. Carlo’s sister was actually the one who got him into cooking, as she was inspired by cooking shows on tv and taught herself and Carlo how to use a knife. By high school he became very creative with cooking and then went on to cook in various mom and pop joints.
Carlo returned to Detroit and enrolled in the culinary program at a community college. His first cook job was at Detroit Athletic Club, which was also Carlo’s first exposure to fine dining. His mentor, Brian really pushed him to refine his technique and improve his skills. Brian studied the Culinary Institute of America and encouraged Carlo to go, so at the age of 27, with seven years experience in the kitchen, he enrolled.
“Some people knock the CIA but you take what you put into it.”
Carlo believes every experience you have contributes to your overall book of knowledge and shapes your culinary relationships. He went in with a mindset to focus and did just that.
After graduating from the CIA, Carlo moved to Chicago. A year spent with Bruce Sherman at North Pond taught Carlo a lot about classic French technique, out of the box thinking and sourcing direct from local farms. He bounced around Europe, traveling and cooking in restaurants in Germany, France and Spain. “If I ever retire, I want to be in San Sebastian” Carlo says.
Coming home from Europe and a short trip back to Philippines to visit family gave Carlo a renewed appreciation of food. In his home country he reconnected with the food, culture and technique. He opted to go back to Chicago and landed a job as tournant in chef Paul Virant’s new restaurant Perennial Virant. Paul and his incredible team of cooks there were “really in it to win it”, dedicated to research, learning and being creative in the kitchen. Paul is known for his farm connections and extensive preserving program, which Carlo learned a lot about. In 2 years he worked his way up to sous chef and also helped to start the restaurant’s charcuterie program. Carlo considers Paul one of his biggest mentors.
On a trip to Portland, Carlo fell in love with the vibrant food culture and the diners’ openness to new ideas and flavors. He interviewed for the sous chef position at the Ace Hotel’s Clyde Common. The first year it felt like pure survival but he got through it and was promoted to executive chef.
Going into year two at Clyde, Carlo took it on himself to create a new culture in the kitchen. He stressed whole animal butchery, whole fish creations and reconnecting with local farmers. He developed a relationship with Little Gnome Farm in Vancouver, WA, that started growing specific produce for the menu at Clyde Common, a relationship that has know grown to where Carlo buys everything that Little Gnome grows. Each week his sous chefs pick up the produce, which also helps to keep them connected. After two years of hard work, Carlo feels like he is finally hitting his stride at Clyde Common.
Carlo’s dream for his future is to open a Filipino restaurant. In late 2016 he hosted a series of pop ups called Twisted Filipino, which quickly sold out and was very well received. We look forward to seeing what more comes of it!
Carlo is passionate about his food and staying true to his roots. His belief in taking and using the whole animal is more spiritual and sustainable, it’s about surrounding yourself with good people and great ingredients.
All it takes is just one bite of celery fresh from the soil. You can smell and taste the freshness. Talk to a farmer, sit down with him, reach out and commit. That is what we have to do. Chef Carlo is doing just that. He wants to show that by being flexible and willing to adapt to new foods one can be successful and sustainable. Just dive in head first, do your research, attack from all sides and enjoy the ride!
“We don’t half ass things chef”
“All it takes is a bite of celery”
Advice to Feeders:
“Dive in head first”
“Do your research – go down the rabbit hole”
Profile Photo Credit: The Original Fare