In a city full of foodies who know a thing or two about what’s being served to them (and where it came from), it can be a challenge for a chef to stand out from the crowd. Beyond the farm-to-table movement that has become a norm in environmentally conscious Portland, these James Beard Award winning chefs, restaurants, and restaurateurs have set themselves apart with their bold culinary innovations and commitment to serving only the best ingredients.
By Emily Kelly
Spending months at a time in Thailand in the 90s, Best Chef: Northwest and famed restaurateur Andy Ricker gained his culinary knowledge from the locals before utilizing his Thai expertise in creating numerous restaurants in the U.S., namely Pok Pok in Portland.
After being nominated four years in a row for Rising Star Chef of the Year and finally winning in 2011, Gabriel Rucker made another mark on the industry when he won Best Chef: Northwest in 2013 for his continued culinary excellence at Le Pigeon.
Get a firsthand taste of why Oregon native Naomi Pomeroy was a Best Chef: Northwest nominee in 2010, 2012, and 2013, and winner in 2014 at her intimate restaurant Beast, serving up delicious 6-course dinners during the week and 4-course brunches on Sundays.
Greg Higgins (a Utrip Local Expert!) was a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement that has since become widespread in the Northwest and across the country. Community-oriented Higgins Restaurant cultivates relationships with local farmers to create fresh and unique dishes to serve to the people of Portland. Higgins was awarded Best Chef: Northwest in 2002.
Vitaly Paley takes a step back from crowded and rushed dining experiences to create a more intimate restaurant with a heightened focus on exceptional service and innovation. Paley’s commitment to his vision paid off as he was a two time semi-finalist for James Beard Outstanding Chef and 2005 winner of Best Chef: Northwest.
Ken Forkish adds depth to the roster of Portland chefs as a celebrated pastry chef. He was a semi-finalist in 2012 and 2013 for Outstanding Pastry Chef, and won the Baking and Dessert award for his book Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza. Get a taste of his masterpieces at Ken’s Artisan Barkey, Ken’s Artisan Pizza, or Trifecta Tavern.