This past Sunday marked the last day of Chefs Week PDX 2016 with the finale of the 5 days of collaboration dinners, special edition maker products ranging from beer to hot sauce to ice cream, and Chef after parties. Chefs Week PDX is a time when the chefs celebrate and embody the Portland spirit of collaboration and inspiring and encouraging creativity with each other rather than competition.
The West Coast Dinner brings all the West Coast chefs of Oregon, California, Washington, even across the ocean into Hawaii and across the border into Canada, into one magnificent food marathon of a meal. At the West Coast Dinner this year, hosted at Departure, they had “just enough food” for this grand finale meal at 30 courses featuring 34 chefs.
This is my first time attending as now I’ve learned that I need to be faster on the draw for the tickets before they sell out – and they always sell out. I’ve also now learned that I definitely feel uncomfortably full but can power through sample bites around the 24th course…
Here’s a look at this epic dinner, course by course, with my Chefs Week PDX 2016 West Coast Dinner recap:
- Justin Woodward (Castagna) presents Kohlrabi, Oyster
The dish really highlighted herbaceous flavors and was probably one of the few dishes that tasted like it could possibly be healthy, though I doubt it :X
- Mei Lin presents Hiramasa, Hazelnuts, Myoga Salad, Toasted Rice Vinaigrette
- Gregory Gourdet (Departure) presents Uni, Caviar, White Ponzu, Crispy Nori Potato
Yes, that’s totally gold flaked, blinged out uni on there!
- Angus An (Maenam) presents Spot Prawn Cracker, Crab and Prawn in Coconut Uni reduction, Lemongrass, Ikura
- Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene’s) presents his very descriptive in name Crudite
- Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer (Madcapra) present White Turnip, Buttermilk, Bergamot, Chervil, Cured Scallop
- Jose Chesa (Ataula) presents “Mi Desayuno”, Potatoes, Onions, Chorizo, Eggs
Seriously, this was one of my top 2 favorite dishes of the night. I loved the mixture of flavors and textures, just phenomenal.
- Richie Nakano (Delfina) presents Jidori Egg in Miso, Charred Negi, Matsutake, Caviar
- Matthew Sigler (Renata) presents Mushroom Salad, Caramelized Pear Puree, Chestnut, Watercress, Echo Mountain Breadcrumbs
This dish was more acidic than the description, which I really enjoyed as a bracing cleanse of palate
- Eric Johnson (Stateside) presents Steamed and Chilled Manila Clams, Ikura, Bergamot Organic Ice, Coconut Cream Yogurt, Makrut Lime. I would like 10 more of these please.
- Earl Ninsom (Langbaan) presents Sockeye Salmon Salad, Avocado, Beet, Ikura
Can this salmon look any more perfect? Does this really count as a “salad”?
- Joel Watanabe (Bao Bei) presents Douban Escabeche of Sablefish, Brown Butter, Compressed Green Papaya, Arima Sansho, Tokyo Negi, Umeboshi Shiso. This dish was a favorite of most at the table.
- Brian McCracken and Dana Tough (Spur Gastropub, Tavern Law and more of McCracken Tough) present Smoked Sturgeon Rilette, Black Garlic Cracker, Kaffir Lime Leaf Crema, Caviar
- Justin Wills (Resturant Beck, Sorella) presents Rabbit Liver, Pine Nuts, Fermented Huckleberry, Puffed Brown Rice, Apple
This dish got mixed reactions – my first thought is that I wanted a Belgian beer to go along with to balance it out. While some started liking the dish as they had more spoonfuls, others were overwhelmed by the build-up of that same funkiness of flavors.
- Doug Adams (Imperial) presents Oregon Elk Tartare, Marrow, Heart, Egg
- BJ Smith (Smokehouse 21 and Smokehouse Tavern) presents Smoked Lamb Tartare, Uni, Black Garlic. I liked this enough to just eat it by the spoonful without the cracker.
- Troy MacLarty (Bollywood Theater) presents Cauliflower, Fresh Tumeric Curry, Raisin Chutney, Garam Masala, Curry Leaves
- Javier Plascencia (Misión 19 Tijuana, Brasero Cocina San Diego) presents Kabocha Squash in Mole Negro
- Patrick McKee (Common Law, Laurelhurst Market) presents Braised Short Rib and Beef Tongue, Banh Mi Pickles, Lemongrass Beef Jus
- Jason Stratton (Mamnoon) presents Mussels with Tamarind, Dill, Labneh, Fried Onions
- Ryan Roadhouse (Nodoguro) presents Sockeye Salmon (marinated in sake and smoked), Egg Yolk, Buckwheat, Crabkake, Mitsuba. I feel like this could be an acceptable every day breakfast for me heh heh.
- Han Hwang (Kim Jong Grillin’) presents Savory Barley and Rice, Wild Mushrooms, Scallion, Plum Soy, Parilla Leaf Kim Chee. I also really liked this dish, I enjoyed how clean it was.
- Vitaly Paley (Paley’s Place, Imperial, Portland Penny Diner, DaNet) presents Khankai Georgian Dumpling
- Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon, Little Bird) presents Salami and Gouda Risotto, Rabbit and Pepper Salad. So rich and luxurious.
- Jeff Scheer (Maui Tropical Plantation) presents Braised Goat, Black Garlic Sabayon, Pickled Shallot, Sunchoke
- Kusuma Rao (Ruchikala) presents Black Cardamom Lamb, Umpa, Citrus Pickle, Coconut and Kashmiri Chili
- Eve Küttemann (Sage Hen) presents Brown Bread Mille Feuille, Sorghum Cream, Charred Orange Marmalade, Malted Rye
- Ryan Fox and Ali Matteis (Nomad PDX) present Nest Egg with Amaretto egg and a crispy fried phyllo dough nest dusted with cacao
- Maya Erickson (Lazy Bear) presents Black Sesame, Cocoa, Forbidden Rice, Cassis
- Eve Küttemann (Sage Hen) presents Joel Robuchon’s Sesation Au Chocolat with Valrhona’s Three Origins
Which of these 30 dishes stood out as most interesting and appealing to you?