Behind the Apron

Food Costs Don’t Matter

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Food cost percentage is an indicator of raw product cost. That’s it. It is one number that holds a spot upon the pedestal of all that is sacred in the restaurant world – and that pedestal is on a very […]


The Evolution of Gabriel Rucker

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Gabriel Rucker, Portland’s chef darling and two-time winner of The James Beard Award, has never stopped evolving. From his early days as an 18-year-old line cook through the creation of his award-winning restaurant Le Pigeon and its sister restaurant Little […]


Ode To Prep Cooks

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Prep Cooks are the backbone of the kitchen. They break down the proteins, start the stocks, chop the vegetables, keep the walk-in organized, and do just about anything else that needs done. An experienced Prep Cook makes their job look […]


Build Out Your Knife Bag

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The knife roll is central to a cook’s working life. As cooks file into their kitchens, the ubiquitous knife roll is the first thing onto the counter. The contents vary from cook to cook, but there are always a few […]


An Ode to Bar Towels

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There are many pieces of equipment and gear that make working in a restaurant possible. Good shoes, properly maintained knives, blenders and more make the restaurant world go round. But we shouldn’t forget one of the most important and humblest […]


The 5 Stages of Food Coming Back

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Nothing can disrupt a smooth enough night like food coming back through the window. The rail is full of tickets – special orders, VIPs, add-ons and big-tops. But you and and crew can handle it all… until you see Carl […]


9 Things You Learn from Working the Front of the House

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Working the front of house at a restaurant teaches you things that you can’t learn anywhere else. You meet people from all walks of life on any given day and the experiences that brings you, combined with the lessons you learn […]


And The Winner Is…

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  Our #dontchopbelieving Instagram contest ended strongly yesterday evening with a few entries sneaking in just before midnight. We had over 200 chefs from all around the world submit photos of their knife kits and they thoroughly blew us away. […]


5 Spring Ingredients to Make Patio Season Tolerable

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Spring means a lot of things – warm breezes, sunshine and patio-service. It also means you’re about to see some of your favorite ingredients coming in from the farms. While your floor manager is getting ready to double your seating […]


We Never Stopped Peeling Shrimp that Summer

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I had never set foot in a professional kitchen before. In fact, I’d only been in a fine dining restaurant once and I’m not sure how high-end it was considering Shania Twain was twanging from the speakers. I hadn’t even […]


Your Mise en Place for a Successful Cookbook

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After years of perfecting your recipes, you’re toying with the idea of writing a cookbook – but where do you start? Maybe you thumb through your old favorite, the one that inspired you to become a chef, looking for ideas. […]


Tinder for Line Cooks

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Tinder is both the apex and nadir of online dating. On one hand, it’s brilliantly simple and efficient; on the other hand, it feeds into the most base of human instincts. A combination like that comes along only a few […]

tinder for line cooks

5 Tips for Crushing the Working Interview

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A long tradition in restaurant kitchens is the working interview. The purpose is threefold: First, the perspective employer wants to see the level of skill and experience a candidate possesses. Second, it’s a chance to see how the candidate interacts […]

how to win a working job interview

A Natural History of the Chef’s Hat

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Look up. Don’t see it? Look to the cook standing next to you. What the hell is that white bulbous growth coming out of the top of his head? And who thought that fire hazard would be a good idea? […]


I was a Teenage No Call/No Show

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Ok, so I was in my 20’s, but I was living the Spartan day-to-day of a teenager. I had just returned from an extended stay in Alaska and just wasn’t feeling like getting back to work. I was wishing for […]


Staying Focused in the Face of Chaos

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The second large plastic crate of chanterelles blocked my view of my surroundings. Regardless, I could feel the Chef’s presence still near me. My soft bristle pastry brush felt glued to my fingers as I tried to stay focused. These […]


The 5 Best Ways to Cut Yourself in a Kitchen

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Cutting yourself while working is a rite of passage in the restaurant industry. According to some, you’re not a “real cook” until you’ve seen your finger-pad bloody-side down on a prep table. Once you’ve honed those knife skills and learned […]


Off-Sites: 6 Ways to Make Events Work For You

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As we approach event season, now is the perfect time to answer the burning question: As a restaurant owner or chef, how often should you say, “yes” to event participation invitations? You know the drill. As soon as April rolls […]


Daddy Issues

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Once upon a time all chefs were huge assholes. They preyed upon the young and inexperienced to become their interns, working for free, stuck in overcrowded dorms with insufficient heat sources.  Chefs smashed plates against walls and made staff eat […]


Cooking with Chef Candy – Brining Chickens

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The first thing you learn cooking in a professional kitchen is you’re a long way from home. Methods and techniques that worked well in your family’s kitchen can lead to failure, as well as spiking food costs, when applied in […]


Burning Bright: Embracing a Chef’s True Element

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The relationship between humanity and controlled fire has fascinated me for a long time. Years ago I read Richard Wrangham’s Catching Fire: Cooking Made Us Human. In it, Wrangham goes as far as stating that civilization is what it is today […]


What Motivates Us?

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This question has lingered between my ears for a long time. I fell into this industry at 15 due to the comfort I found within kitchens during that stereotypically awkward adolescent age. I needed a summer job. So I thought, […]


Best Dishwasher 2014

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If you’ve worked in a kitchen you know at least one simple truth: Dishwashers Rule. Washing the dishes is only a part of what they do to keep kitchens running smoothly. Need extra prep? Dishwasher. Need sauté pans? Dishwasher. Inspired […]


Dishwashers Rule

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If you’ve worked in a kitchen you know at least one simple truth: Dishwashers Rule. Washing the dishes is only a part of what they do to keep kitchens running smoothly. Need extra prep? Dishwasher. Need sauté pans? Dishwasher. Face […]


A Talk with Erika Nakamura of Lindy & Grundy

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One of the attractive things about working in the food and drink industry is the opportunity to become your own boss. If you put in the hours, have the talent and the drive, you can realize the dream of opening […]


The Importance of Chaos

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Recently, I sold my soul. Well, it was more of a rental agreement with an undisclosed expiration date. After months of living my lifestyle of constant evolution, I was feeling the financial grips squeezing – hence my need for a […]


Sailing the Seas of Cheese

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Sasha Davies lives in a world of cheese. More importantly it’s a world she carved out for herself. Starting as a humble intern and following that with a cheese-focused road-trip, Sasha has never waivered in her pursuit of learning about […]


Secrets of the Cicerones

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As I was sneaking away from a former wine industry colleague in a grocery store because I was carrying a sixer of Old German tallboys, I started thinking: maybe beer is just as important to the modern bar and restaurant […]


Mister NaCl

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Who would have thought you could create a brick and mortar business with just sodium chloride? Ben Jacobsen, founder of Jacobsen Salt Co., took this humble compound and within 2.5 years established himself as the go-to supplier for NW chefs […]


An Interview with Linda Milagros Violago

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Wine lists might scare the shit out of your average person; probably because they weren’t actually designed for a regular person to decipher. Enter the Sommelier, that specialized link between the dining room and the kitchen, who can decipher your […]

Photo Credit: Stephanie Biteau

Chef Jason Vincent of Nightwood

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An interview with Chef Jason Vincent of Nightwood Restaurant in Chicago, on being a Best New Chef as well as what he looks for in a kitchen team.   How long have you been at Nightwood? I’ve been the Chef […]


It’s Not Molecular. It’s Good.

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Justin Woodward is the Chef at Castagna on SE Hawthorne, with a cooking background that includes WD-50 in NY and L’Auberge in San Diego, with various other stages in Michelin star kitchens such as NOMA in Denmark and Mugaritz in […]


An Interview with America’s Hottest Chef

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Danielle Signore from Castagna sits down with America’s Hottest Chef, Pascal Sauton, to talk about the contest, the picture that won it, and how things are going at Milwaukie Kitchen & Wine… The Hottest Chef Yes, it’s a silly contest. […]

America's Hottest Chef

The Working Life – Sammy Glinn at Post Office

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The Working Life with Sammy Glinn is the first in a series of episodes conceived and directed by Luisa Conlon and Jen Goma. The Working Life is a food blog about people. In the spirit of amateur anthropology, the project […]


Nicky USA’s Geoff Latham

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Twenty-two years ago, Nicky USA owner Geoff Latham got his start in the sustainably-raised meat business by selling rabbits to Portland chefs and retailers out of the trunk of his Ford Escort. Now he has a thriving Oregon operation, his […]

Geoff Latham-NickyUSA

Sara Spearin, Dynamo Donuts, and the Significance of 3 AM

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Sara Spearin sets the Mission District’s pre-dawn olfactory pleasure centers afire from Dynamo Donuts, her unassuming world headquarters on 24th Street from whence the unmistakable scent of better-than-they-should-be donuts and superlative coffee wafts, vice disguised as the mundane. Join us […]


What Would You Do If Someone Just Gave You Country Bill’s?

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Country Bill’s in Woodstock has been on the market for a while now and the price recently dropped to 925k (rustle that up from the change you find in the couch). We are confident that most who’ve heard about the […]

Country Bill's exterior

One Day at Alinea

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All I wanted was a picture of me in a chef coat in front of Alinea. Possibly planking. I took the train into town, then a surpassingly long taxi ride to Alinea. The taxi driver dumped me in front of […]


Opening Smallwares: The Learning Curve Steepens – Part 2

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Opening a restaurant for the first time may sound romantic to the uninitiated, but it’s deceptively challenging on many levels – an adventure fraught with suspense, hope, heartbreak, occasional humor, and good old-fashioned terror. CHI/PDX/NYC kitchen veteran Johanna Ware has […]


San Francisco: Comstock Saloon’s Carlo Espinas and Jonny Raglin

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Comstock Saloon’s Carlo Espinas and Jonny Raglin discuss historic menu research and rooting out a wizened adage – there is no free lunch Before you even breach its doors, the Comstock Saloon beguiles. The space has been a neighborhood watering […]


Naomi Pomeroy Interview, Part 2

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The boss that doesn’t have to “boss”, dog-eared cookbooks, and the girl who has to share her mom with Beast. A familiar face in the national press, Naomi Pomeroy is a dynamo, garnering multiple culinary award nominations, competing on Iron […]

Naomi and August at No Kid Hungry Event, SF

Naomi Pomeroy Interview, Part 1: on Celebrity, Sharing the Spotlight and Getting the Press

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One might be challenged to think of a time in recent history when Naomi Pomeroy hasn’t been popping up across all forms of media highlighting her team’s work at Portland’s Beast. She’s a familiar face in the national press, garnering […]

Naomi Pomeroy and Mika Paredes from Beast

Opening Smallwares: A Space Odyssey – Part One

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Opening a restaurant for the first time may sound romantic to the uninitiated, but it’s deceptively challenging on many levels – an adventure fraught with suspense, hope, heartbreak, occasional humor, and good old-fashioned terror. CHI/PDX/NYC kitchen veteran Johanna Ware has […]


Behind the Apron (and Guitar): Savoy’s Susie Blue

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My favorite multiple-hyphenated person of late, chef/singer/songwriter/musician Susie Blue has rocked Portland’s breakfast darling Broder for most mornings in recent memory. She recently made a conceptual leap over to the Savoy Tavern where she’s been an agent of change, revamping […]

Talking with Savoy's Susie Blue

Three Doors Down and the Secrets to Catching and Keeping “Lifer” Staff

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In late 1993, Kathy Bergin and Dave Marth found a slender storefront café for sale just off of SE Hawthorne on SE 37th.  Six short months later on St Patrick’s Day 1994, Three Doors Down offered their first dinner service.  […]

Seeking Long-Term Relationships at Three Doors Down

Chef Interview: Lydia Bugatti, Behind the Apron

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Oh Portland, we gaze unblinking at thy food scene, only occasionally looking up to acknowledge that outside your fair quadrants lies a vast metropolitan area whose populace also consider the “Portland Area” their home as well. Just like we inner […]

1_Lydia Bugatti

Jenn Farrington: They Shoot Drinks, Don’t They?

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Recent Portland émigré and photographer at Portland’s Straub Collaborative, Jenn Farrington’s beverage photography receives accolades from clients, contemporaries and discerning drinkers worldwide.   Her work lit up the pages of Tequila: A Guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails, and Bites as […]


Chef Interview: Chris Israel, Behind The Apron

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Back in the late 1980s (verily the horse and buggy days of Portland fine dining), a high-end meal often meant trudging through menus that read like tired greatest hits albums of FILL IN THE BLANK cuisine served up in stodgy […]