I have been cooking for as long as I can remember.
One of my earliest memories is standing on a kitchen chair, helping my Mom make applesauce. My grandmother was the one who really got me into cooking though. We would always make potato soup together. It was my job to go out into the garden to pick the parsley. That was my favorite part of making the soup.
When it was time for me to get my first job, I knew it had to be in a kitchen. During middle school, I was able to get a job at a small hot dog place. I learned a lot of things from there: how to sweep, mop and make an authentic Chicago-style hot dog. Later, I was lucky enough to be accepted at The Culinary Institute of America in New York. The CIA gave me many great opportunities, including meeting my future wife.
I began my career in Boston, working for Barbara Lynch at Menton. At Menton I learned the commitment, dedication, and self discipline it takes to operate a fine dining establishment. As I worked my way up to chef de tournant, I learned everything from butchering whole pigs to making fresh pasta. After a couple of years in Boston my wife and I decided to move to Oregon to be closer to family and find the lifestyle we wanted to live. In Portland, I worked at Biwa Restaurant, where I was able to deepen my knowledge of Japanese food and culture as I worked my way up to chef.
Our first summer in Portland, we built a chicken coop for our four chickens and two ducks. We waited anxiously for a few months while our chickens grew. The day we were waiting for finally came: our chicken, Luna, laid her first egg! It was with great excitement and quite a bit of nervousness that I cooked it. An over-easy egg from our back yard. Butter, salt, and an egg. That was it. I have had the great pleasure of eating at some of the best restaurants in this country. I’ve eaten foie gras cooked on a stove that cost more than my house. This egg that was cooked in butter on an electric stove was hands-down the best bite of my life.
That bite changed my perspective and philosophy about food. If you’re a cook at any level I’m sure you have heard the best food starts with the best ingredients. The best ingredients come from people who love what they do and are passionately committed to it. It takes a lot of work to raise a pig or grow beautiful gem lettuce, and it’s my life’s work to take these beautiful delicious things and turn them into a simple but elegant experience that we can all enjoy.
Here at Minam River Lodge, you can look forward to meats from local ranches cooked over an open fire. Vegetables roasted straight on the coals. Lettuces and herbs from our garden, fed by the mountain spring water we are blessed with using every day. Your meals at the Minam River Lodge will be crafted and influenced by the beautiful surroundings, and reflect the love and teamwork that goes into producing great food.
I look forward to cooking for you during your stay at the lodge. Thank you for the opportunity to do so!
Minam River Lodge Chef