Matthew Lightner, Acclaimed Chef of Atera, to Depart in March to Pursue a New Project

Matthew Lightner, Acclaimed Chef of Atera, to Depart in March to Pursue a New Project
Matthew Lightner, Acclaimed Chef of Atera, to Depart in March to Pursue a New Project

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Matthew Lighter will leave Atera after March 28 to begin developing his own restaurant concept.

Matthew Lightner, the Nebraska-born, Noma-trained chef whose three-year tenure at Atera in New York City earned him two Michelin stars and three stars from The New York Times, will leave the restaurant at the end of March to start a new venture, according to The Times.

Lightner, who first attracted interest from critics as a young chef at Castagna in Portland, Oregon, is known for a culinary style shaped by “the foraging capital of the USA.”

He also held apprenticeships at Noma in Copenhagen and Mugaritz in Spain, where any portion of one’s plate, including the plate itself, might be a found object.

“It was time to pursue this opportunity, something I have been wanting to do,” Lightner told The New York Times. “The concept is coming together.”

Lightner’s last day at Atera will be March 28, after which the restaurant will close for a few weeks. It will undergo some “cosmetic changes,” and Lightner’s replacement, Danish chef Ronny Emborg, will take this time to settle into the space. Emborg is an alum of El Bulli and Mugaritz, and has been the personal chef of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II.

Lightner told The New York Times that he aims to open a high-end restaurant highlighting the comfort food of his childhood in Nebraska. A location has not been determined, but he plans to stay in New York. 

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