Bite of Oregon, an annual food festival held in Portland, is preparing to wow gourmands August 8-10, 2014 by offering attendees the most infamous edibles that the state has to offer. If the turnout is anything like the festival has seen in the past, there will be a line along the waterfront of people anxiously awaiting entry at the gate. Standing there, they will be able to hear music from the stage and smell the cuisine aromas wafting through the air.
Oregon is proud to be the home of James Beard, a nationally famous food enthusiast, cookbook author, teacher, syndicated columnist, and television personality. Beard established two culinary schools, one in New York and the second in Seaside, Oregon. Through education and mentorship, Beard was one of the earliest American professional chefs who helped create the gourmet scene. Bite of Oregon strives to keep his tradition alive by bringing together professional chefs from around the state and cuisine enthusiasts from around the world.
At Bite of Oregon, over 12 restaurants along with four food carts scheduled with 10 different dessert vendors. Over 20 different Pacific Northwest merchants plan to attend, selling wine, craft beer, spirits, hard cider and premium-brewed sake. To accompany the lively drinks, the Oregon Bounty Chefs Table will provide savory and sweet edibles with Oregon products such as seafood and beef, along with fresh fruit and vegetables like raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and potatoes, and a selection of dairy products presented by a variety of chefs.
Joe Kim, part owner and head chef of Bend’s 5 Fusion & Sushi Bar, will be one of chefs found at the Oregon Bounty Chefs Table. As one of the top 20 Northwest chefs, he was recently nominated for the 2014 James Beard Foundation Award. Not only is he one of the youngest ever nominated, only five other Oregon nominees have been from outside of Portland.
Meanwhile, Chef Jean Louis, who has partnered with a Shun Knives designer, will be offering a demonstration of how to properly use knives and handing out samples of some of her recipes. In 2008, Louis and her husband opened the Lincoln Restaurant in North Portland. The menu balances classic foods with modern by harvesting Pacific Northwest grown ingredients to create hearty, gourmet meals such as pancetta and pig ears or corned lamb neck. The Lincoln Restaurant, after only being open for a few months, made the “Hot List” of 50 top new restaurants in North America by Condé Nast Traveler. In 2010 and 2011, Louis was a semifinalist for “Best Chef Northwest” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2011, Louis also opened a second restaurant called the Sunshine Tavern located in Southeast Portland, which has a more family friendly menu of sandwiches and pizzas.
Other renowned chefs such as Lisa Schroeder and Tim MacDonald will also be featured at the food festival to wow Bite of Oregon gourmands. Schroeder is the award-winning owner and chef of downtown Portland’s Mother’s Bistro & Bar, which has a menu focused on refined versions of traditional home-cooked meals made from scratch. Tim MacDonald is a Consulting Chef and Business Solutions Manager for the Oregon Branch of Food Services America (FSA), and believes that bacon is the duct tape of cuisine because it can fix any dish.
This will be Bite of Oregon’s 31st event and take place in the heart of downtown, along the Willamette River at Governor Tom McCall’s Waterfront Park. Advance entry tickets for the event, which benefits the Special Olympics Oregon, are on sale for $5 a day. At Bite of Oregon, gourmands will need to pay an additional $2-$9 per item to be wowed by the festival’s assorted restaurants, food carts and dessert vendors.
By Sarah Hutchins