Oregon is where we live. Located in the northwest corner of the United States of America, Oregon is an incredible mecca of good food that often falls in the shadow of its neighbor to the south. We are part of the Cascadia bioregion and are proud of it, hence the big flag on this post.
The state has a great deal of ecological diversity. The Pacific Ocean lines the entire western edge of the state, extending north from California. Low mountains rise up from the coast and then drop into a series or rich, lush valleys, the largest being the Willamette Valley. Umpqua and Rogue are also notable valleys in the food and wine world. Heading east, you’ll find the volcanic Cascade mountains, and farther east is high desert, complete with sagebrush, tumbleweeds, and alkali lake beds.
Agriculture is huge here. In the western valleys, we grow just about everything. Gardening season runs from April to October and we can grow just about anything but citrus, avocados, and of course tropical produce. Even the desert is hospitable to farming in Oregon. Soft wheat, corn for feed, oats, and more are produced on the eastern side of the state.
In the Valleys, specialty farms focused on sustainability bring high quality meats to the urban markets. Draper Valley and Carlton Farms are two of the best known purveyors of quality meat in the Portland area, and many local Chefs procure from these farms.
The food scene in Portland is vibrant and healthy. Due to Portland’s proximity to agriculture, chefs bask in the glory that is fresh fine food. Especially in the months of May-September. I mean, these guys and gals are spoiled! If you ever come to Portland, you’ll see!
The Portland food scene is what inspired Hot Kitchen.
I attended a culinary school run by Portland foodies, ate out a lot, recreated the dishes at home with ease, and worked at some really nice restaurants. Wildwood Restaurant was one of them. No big deal, but I got to work across a prep table from a James Beard Award winning chef, Cory Schreiber. I split my internship between Wildwood and another great restaurant, Marks on the Channel. Both were great — very different, but equally talented chefs. I learned a lot from them and their teams and share some of that knowledge with you in every show.
And that is how Oregon is related to Hot Kitchen.