Why Chefs Love Portland

To Portland foodies, Portland Dining Month is our march madness. There’s excitement in the air. Sites like Eater put out top pick lists and the competition (for tables) is fierce. Thankfully, scalpers haven’t hacked into OpenTable. Yet!

Until the end of March, over 100 Portland restaurants are serving up three courses for $29. To celebrate this momentous month of feasting, we’re asking the hometown team what they love about Portland. Game on!

Portland Chefs Love Portlanders

Portland Chefs cook for a Portland crowd. Which means this article is a bit like Rick Pitino thanking Louisville fans in his 2013 National Championship celebration speech.

These Chefs love their P-Towners.

This is one big love fest for Portland. You’ve been warned.

“Portland feels like Europe. People are really open-minded here. People are really into food, Foodies. People are really polite, they love to eat. So there are a lot of pros that benefit us. It’s a safe city. It’s beautiful. People say hi to you on the street. It’s a place to raise kids.” — Chef José Chesa (Chesa, Ataula, 180)

Chef José Chesa
Chef José Chesa

Portlanders have refined palates. They know good food when they taste it. Something Tasty n Sons Brunch Chef de Cuisine attributes to a connection with the land.

“In Oregon and Portland especially, there has always been a movement for respect for the ingredients and for the land. I feel the same way.  I garden myself. Last year I had 14 tomato plants. If you learn how to grow things, you learn how to treat the land with respect. Cook food with respect and Portlanders can taste it.” — Chef Erin (Tasty n Sons)

Brunch Chef de Cuisine, Chef Erin Tasty n Sons
Brunch Chef de Cuisine, Chef Erin Tasty n Sons

Portland Chefs Support Each Other

Follow Portland restaurants on Twitter and something interesting will appear. Tweets about other Portland Chefs and restaurants. Check @ChesaPDX and you’ll see what we mean.

“There is a lot of variety, a lot of knowledge and a lot of professionalism. People are taking good care to use good products. The Chefs are really a community here. We have a good friendship. We all help each other to improve. There are a lot of positive things to being a Chef in Portland.” — Chef José Chesa

Chef José Chesa and Team at Chesa
Chef José Chesa and Team at Chesa

“We don’t stick to ourselves. I have friends at other restaurants not just here. My wife is the General Manager at Ate-oh-Ate. I’d say family is the right word for it. ” — Matt Currey,  Reverend’s BBQ,

Kitchen Manager Matt's Proud Grin
Kitchen Manager Matt’s Proud Grin

Like Oregon Wine Country, the Portland Chef community has a strong sense of comradery. Chefs here cheer for each other’s success.

Portland is Surrounded by Quality Ingredients

Portland Chefs are a little like kids in a candy store. They quickly praise the Pacific Northwest for world-class local ingredients. From seafood to legumes to berries, the best Portland kitchens are stocked locally.

“Portland has very beautiful nature. Many of the ingredients for Spanish cuisine are grown here. Even the legumes for this paella, they are local.” — Chef José Chesa, Chesa

Legumes Chesa Paella
Legumes Chesa Paella

“We live near the ocean so we get great seafood. We live in a wonderful valley, the Willamette Valley. Regional food is so close. Hood River valley with all the fruits, berries. Our families are farmers, so we have a connection. We can honor every ingredient and get it as fresh as we like.” — Chef Erin, Tasty n Sons

Fresh Prep at Tasty n Sons
Fresh Prep at Tasty n Sons

“It’s what we’re known for, we make our fish stock fresh everyday and the shellfish in these parts is second to none.” — Chef David Farrell, Cabezon

Cioppino at Cabezon
Cioppino at Cabezon

Portland Is Weird & Our Chefs Are Free

“There’s not a lot of elitism in food here. Places are respectful with each other and down-to-earth. People are doing what they want to do here, you know. Cook with your pants off. No one cares. You can be weird here. You can do it your way.“ — Chef David Farrell, Cabezon

For the record, Chef Farrell did have his pants on.

Cabezon Owner & Chef David Farrell
Cabezon Owner & Chef David Farrell

“There’s a new Portland style of BBQ. Over the last few years, there has been a lot of BBQ restaurants popping up all over town. Portland does a really good job of taking food and elevating it. It’s less about tradition and more taking something and making it really, really good.” — Matt Currey, Reverend’s BBQ

Brisket Juicy Brisket
Brisket Juicy Brisket

Portland Chefs are surrounded by inspiring quality ingredients. Produce plucked fresh from the Willamette Valley. Seafood caught fresh from the Pacific. Menus boast locally produced, world-class craft beer and Pinot Noir.

Portland sits at the intersection of quality ingredients and creative freedom for Chefs. That creative freedom Portland Chefs enjoy is thanks in big part, to Portlanders open minds and palates.

So go on Portlanders. Celebrate Portland this month. Shout with P-Town pride from Rip City rooftops. Insta that #PDX dish and show the world what Stumptown is made of. Passion, devotion to craft and quality ingredients and some downright addictive Shakshuka.

Shakshuka
Shakshuka at Tasty n Sons

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