A Colorado native, Matt was raised in Summit County. Matt began his culinary career at the age of fourteen, cooking at a local diner. Intrigued by the pace and heat of the kitchen, Vawter knew instinctively that this was his path. At fifteen, Matt began his culinary apprenticeship at Colorado Mountain Culinary Institute working and learning in Keystone Resort’s kitchens.
After a five-year tenure with Vail Resorts, Matt joined the opening team at The Cellar, a small plates wine bar in Breckenrige. Matt moved through the ranks of the kitchen and quickly found himself as the Sous Chef.
In 2007, Matt relocated to Denver and began working at Fruition Restaurant, under the mentorship of Chef Alex Seidel. Matt, once again quickly rose through the ranks to become Fruition’s Chef de Cuisine. In June 2014 Matt received the Zagat Award “30 under 30 culinary game changers”.
In 2014, Matt and Alex, joined forces to open a new market and restaurant concept, in Denver’s Union Station. During his tenure at Mercantile, Matt received Star Chefs ‘Rising Star’ award and was a semi-finalist for Eater’s ‘Young Guns’. In 2018 Alex Seidel received a James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest; Vawter was the Chef d’ Cuisine and partner alongside Seidel.
In the Summer of 2020 Matt left Mercantile to pursue opening his own restaurant in his home town of Breckenridge, CO. Rootstalk is set in an 1880’s Victorian home in the heart of town serving new American cuisine. Rootstalk focuses on seasonal and approachable food, thoughtfully curated wine and beverage lists, and creative and fun libations.