Gregory Gourdet
Director of Culinary Operations
Departure Restaurant, Portland, OR and Denver, CO
James Beard Award Semi-Finalist

Chef Gregory Gourdet is the culinary mastermind behind Departure restaurants in Portland and Denver, where he pairs local ingredients with bold Asian flavors.  A two-time James Beard Award semifinalist and native New Yorker from Queens, Gourdet honed his culinary skills within celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant dynasty. Gourdet was named Chef of the Year in 2013 by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, was dubbed Eater Portland’s Chef of the Year in 2014, and in 2015,  earned runner-up in Bravo’s Top Chef Season 12. The past years have found Gregory on a global exploration of culture and cuisines from Asia to his family’s native Haiti. His current cuisine shows these learnings and influences while still maintaining his hyper focus on sustainable food systems and local food culture.

Photo Credit: Nicolle Clemetson


Philippe Boulot
Executive Chef
Multnomah Athletic Club
James Beard Award Winner

A native of Normandy, Phillippe Boulot spent two decades working in some of the world’s finest hotels before joining Portland’s culinary scene in 1994. His Heathman Restaurant & Bar helped put Portland on the culinary map, winning USA Today’s “Favorite Hotel Restaurant” honor in 2010 and earning Boulot a James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest in 2001. Since 2009, he has been Executive Chef at Multnomah Athletic Club, creating contemporary regional dishes using only the finest in-season ingredients while combining ethnic touches to produce a relationship of tastes and textures.

José Chesa
Chef / Owner
James Beard Award Semi-Finalist

José Chesa grew up cooking alongside his father and grandmother, in Spain, and began to display his own talent and acute palate at a very early age. Chesa began traveling the globe and honing his skills at prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants, including Arpege, Can Fabes, and Fleur-de-Sel, before settling with his family in Portland and opening his first restaurant, Ataula, in 2013 with his wife and partner, Cristina.

Matt Christianson
Executive Chef
Urban Farmer

Chef Matt Christianson focuses on redefining the modern steakhouse with an emphasis on Northwest, sustainable ingredients and simple, straightforward preparations as executive chef at  Urban Farmer  in The Nines Hotel. Since studying at the Culinary Institute of America, Christianson has worked in kitchens across the USA, studying food cultures as he went — Christianson’s largest influence is the regional food culture of San Francisco, which he now emphasizes in his cooking by maintaining excellent relationships with farmers and applying “farmer-centric” values. 

Bonnie Morales
Chef / Co-Owner
James Beard Award Nominee

The first-generation American daughter of Belarusian immigrants, chef Bonnie Morales (née Frumkin) — a James Beard Award “Best Chef Northwest” finalist in 2018 — grew up in Chicago in a large family that celebrated the distinctive food and drink of the former Soviet Union. In 2014, Morales and her husband, Israel, opened Kachka, a restaurant devoted to food inspired by Russia and the former Soviet republics. After expanding Kachka into a larger space in Portland’s Central Eastside, the original Kachka location was reopened as Kachinka, a casual sister restaurant focusing on Russian-inspired drinking food.

Photo Credit: Carly Diaz

Cathy Whims
Chef / Owner
James Beard Award Nominee

Cathy Whims has been serving classic Italian fare to Portland diners for years. In the course of her professional career, Cathy has studied with Marcella and Victor Hazan at their home in Venice. Her travels throughout Italy where she meets with chefs, restaurateurs, wine producers, distillers and artisan producers brings Cathy close to the heart of Italian cooking. Cathy has been nominated for Best Chef, Northwest by the James Beard Foundation six times. Nostrana, a rustic Italian restaurant, opened its doors with Whims as Executive Chef and received The Oregonian’s Restaurant of the Year in 2006. In 2018, Whims opened Enoteca Nostrana, a modern wine bar and event space adjacent to Nostrana.


Kim Boyce
Pastry Chef / Owner / Author
James Beard Award Winner

Kim Boyce moved to Portland in June 2010 as former Spago and Campanile pastry chef, on the heels of publishing her James Beard award-winning cookbook, Good to the Grain. Boyce’s cookbook broke the mold for whole-grain baking. By teaching home cooks that you can have your rye flour cake and eat it too, she’s opened up a new world for bakers interested in heirloom, whole grain flavors. You can find her most days at her retail and wholesale bakery, Bakeshop, open since 2011 in NE Portland. She has contributed to Bon Appétit, O, NPR, Portland Monthly, Whole Living and the Los Angeles Times.

Photo Credit: Shelby Brakken

Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton
Executive Chefs / Owners 
Ox Restaurant and Bistro Agnes
James Beard Award Winner

Born in Schenectady, N.Y., and raised in Rutland, Vt., Greg Denton started working in kitchens at age nine and never turned back. Gabrielle’s passion for food developed at a young age as well, during summers spent in her grandmother’s kitchen in the Andean highlands of Ecuador. Greg attended The Culinary Institute of America, while Gabrielle attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Since opening Portland’s Ox Restaurant together in 2012, and Bistro Agnes in 2017, the couple have earned numerous awards, including the James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest in 2017.

Photo Credit: John Valls

Ken Forkish
Chef / Owner
Ken’s Artisan Bakery
James Beard Award Winner

Ken Forkish is the owner of Ken’s Artisan Bakery, Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Trifecta Tavern & Bakery, and Trifecta Annex in Portland, Oregon. He is also the author of the James Beard and IACP Award-winning book Flour Water Salt Yeast (Ten Speed Press) and a recently published ode to pizza, The Elements of Pizza (Ten Speed Press). Ken is largely recognized as a key contributor to Portland’s culinary renaissance, founding Ken’s Artisan Bakery in 2001 and Ken’s Artisan Pizza in 2006. He was a finalist for the national James Beard Award “Outstanding Pastry Chef” in 2013; that same year, he opened Trifecta Tavern & Bakery in Portland’s Central Eastside, a bar, restaurant and small-batch bakery.

Photo Credit: Alan Weiner

Greg Higgins
Chef / Owner
Higgins Restaurant Bar & Grill
James Beard Award Winner

Chef/owner of Higgins Restaurant & Bar in Portland, Oregon since 1994, Greg is an avid organic gardener and active proponent of sustainable food practices.  Higgins maintains a strong commitment to supporting local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and foragers as well as to educating and inspiring people to choose good clean food.  He was honored by the James Beard Foundation as the recipient of their 2002-2003 Best Chef Award – Northwest/Hawaii. He has also been named a “Founder of the New Northwest” by Sustainable NW and is a recipient of the state of Oregon’s  “Governor’s Award” for his work promoting and celebrating Oregon agriculture.

Katy Millard
Chef / Owner
James Beard Award Nominee

Katy Millard was born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa until her family moved to Mobile, Ala. After graduating from Michigan State with a degree in hospitality, she traveled across the Atlantic and began cooking at some of the finest restaurants in France, including Le Château de la Chèvre d’Or, Le Grand Hotel in St Jean-Cap Ferrat, and La Table du Lancaster. Her restaurant, Coquine, began the Portland-way: as a pop-up. Spurred by its success, Millard and her husband (Rising Star Sommelier Ksandek Podbielski) found a brick-and-mortar home in 2015.

Kristen Murray
Pastry Chef / Owner
James Beard Award Semi-Finalist

Kristen Murray grew up in Southern California, where ripe fruit was always at her fingertips. Baking with her grandmothers, she would transform those fruits into her earliest desserts. After years working in some of the nation’s most esteemed restaurants, she earned her Portland Rising Star award in 2011 at Paley’s Place, cementing her status as one of Portland’s most beloved patissiers. Most recently, Murray opened Luncheonette Maurice in downtown Portland, where she has fully realized the concept she’s been incubating for almost a decade.

Vitaly Paley
Chef / Owner / Author
Imperial and Paley’s Place
James Beard Award Winner

Critically acclaimed chef, accomplished restaurateur, and noted cookbook author Vitaly Paley has cemented his place as a leader in the American culinary scene and a trailblazer within the fast-growing Portland food community through his award-winning food, unmatched creativity, and superior technique. With 25 years’ experience, a 2005 James Beard Award for “Best Chef Pacific Northwest,” and an April 2011 winning battle on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” under his belt, the Russian-born and French-trained Paley believes cooking is as much about soul searching and mood as it is about rigorous technique and constant repetition.

Naomi Pomeroy
Chef / Owner
James Beard Award Winner

Born and raised in Corvallis, Naomi Pomeroy spent her childhood hanging out with her mother by the stove and in backyard gardens. Those early lessons blossomed into her own restaurant, Beast, which was named Restaurant of the Year by The Oregonian in 2008, and earned Pomeroy the “Chef of the Year” honor from Portland Monthly that same year. In 2014, Pomeroy won the James Beard Award as “Best Chef: Northwest,” and was a Best Chef nominee in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

Andy Ricker
Chef / Owner
Pok Pok
Two-time James Beard Award Winner

Two-time James Beard Award winner Andy Ricker is the chef/owner of Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated Pok Pok Ny in Red Hook, Brooklyn, as well as five other restaurants in Portland. He first visited Thailand as a backpacker in 1987, and has since spent several months each year traveling and studying the food culture in Thailand and neighboring countries. He is also the founder and owner of Pok Pok Som (a drinking vinegar company) and is a partner in Pok Pok Thaan (a charcoal importing enterprise).

Photo Credit: David Reamer

Gabriel Rucker
Executive Chef / Owner
Le Pigeon
Two-time James Beard Award Winner

Two-time James Beard Award-winning chef Gabriel Rucker is Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Le Pigeon, Little Bird Bistro, and the recently opened Canard in Portland. His edgy, highly original, and recipe-free masterpieces, evocative of French bistro signatures and classic American fare, have gained him both regional and national acclaim, including James Beard Awards for “Rising Star Chef” in 2011 and “Best Chef Northwest” in 2013, as well as nominations for “Outstanding Chef” in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Photo Credit: Stuart Mullenberg

Justin Woodward
Executive Chef
James Beard Award Nominee

Since taking over the kitchen at Portland’s Castagna in 2011, acccolades have been flowing in for Executive Chef Justin Woodward, including James Beard Award nominations for Rising Star Chef (once) and Best Chef Northwest (four times), and a current ranking of No. 15 for Castagna on Opinionated About Dining’s  list of the nation’s Top 100 restaurants. Training in top restaurants around the world has made Justin’s cooking extremely seasonal and progressive, with an emphasis on creating a surprising and fun dining experience, and truly delicious dishes. 

Photo Credit: John Valls