In 1992, while juggling a full-time marketing career, catering on the side and raising her daughter, Schroeder realized that there was no place that served the kind of food she would make if she had the time. She concluded the world really needed a place which served “Mother Food” – slow-cooked dishes made with love, and she spent the next eight years working toward that dream.
In 1993, Schroeder left her job at Weight Watchers International and enrolled in The Culinary Institute of America, where she was selected as a Top Ten Student Chef by Food and Wine Magazine. She graduated with honors in 1995, and honed her skills at two four-star restaurants, Lespinasse and Le Cirque in New York. She went on to apprentice in France at Roger Verge’s Moulin des Mougins and Mark Veyrat’s L’Auberge de L’Eridan. In addition to France, Lisa toured Italy, Spain, Morocco and Switzerland gleaning an understanding of regional cuisine and indigenous foods, affirming her belief that some of the best meals of a country are found in its homes, made by its mothers.
Schroeder relocated to Portland, Oregon, and was Chef at Besaw’s Café for two years. In January 2000 she opened Mother’s Bistro & Bar to rave reviews and the “Restaurant of the Year” title from Willamette Week. In addition to a menu offering refined, exquisite versions of traditional home-cooked dishes, Schroeder celebrates the cuisine of a different mother each month, lovingly referred to as the “Mother of the Month” (or “M.O.M.”). In 2002, Food and Wine Magazinerecognized Mother’s as one of America’s Top Restaurant Bargains; in 2004, Mother’s was voted Best Brunch by Portland Monthly Magazine, Willamette Week, City search, and AOL. Schroeder opened Mama Mia Trattoria in 2004, introducing Portland to the classic Italian dishes she grew up on in Philadelphia’s Little Italy.
In November of 2009, Lisa released her critically-acclaimed cookbook, Mother’s Best, and appeared on the Today Show and QVC. Schroeder is a former Portland Iron Chef, recipient of the Portland Business Journal’s Businesswoman of the Year award, and The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Chef/Restaurateur Award of Excellence. Lisa is also an active member of the community, participating in a numerous charities and causes, with a particular focus on domestic violence, children’s causes, human rights and AIDS.
Nearly 400 guests enjoyed the mom-inspired culinary creations of Chef Shroeder who used fresh, local ingredients from the state of Oregon. Menu items included Rogue River Blue, Pear & Candied Hazelnut Salad with mesclun greens and balsamic-pear vinaigrette, Boeuf Bourguignonne slow-braised Oregon country beef with pinot noir, bacon, pearl onions and mushrooms with Profiteroles for dessert which are cream puffs filled with vanilla ice cream served with a warm chocolate-cognac sauce.
The 13th Annual Denim & Diamonds dinner and auction was held at the Governor Hotel (now Sentinal Hotel) on Friday, November 19, 2010. Congressman Greg Walden was in attendance, pictured center below with State FFA President Alex Morrissey (left) and State FFA Sentinel Bailey Field (right).