Past CHEFS & AmBASSADORS
Chefs, Winemakers, and Gastronomic Ambassadors
Bodegas Acústic Celler
The exciting wines of Bodegas Acústic Celler, from very old vines in the DO of Montsant, are the project of Albert Jané Ubeda. Albert is like an obsessive collector when it comes to prospecting new vineyards, even if he comes across a small parcel of old bush vines he just has to have it and this patchwork of sites add so much complexity and intensity to his wines. Albert's philosophy is to create wines that express and bring back to life the traditional way of making wines. He is all about authenticity and says his job is to look after the vines - he makes his wine in the vineyards not the cellar. It is the vines and the terroir that are the magic for Albert and his mission is to bottle it!
Alex is a Catalan journalist with more than 10 years of experience in media, bla, bla, bla... Honestly, while you read he is probably uncorking a bottle, dipping bread in a pan, or drinking a cocktail in a bar with a slightly dubious reputation. After decades of traveling, eating and drinking around, his knowledge of Catalan and Spanish cuisine made him co-found Aborígens – Local Food Insiders with an old childhood (and bar) friend who also claims to be a food writer. Aborígens promotes local food culture for professionals, travelers and hardcore foodies visiting Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain. A job as inspiring as unhealthy, they say.
Ana has been Export Director for Gramona for 10 years. She has an University Degree in Chemistry and a Masters in Aromas. After working many years for an international consulting firm she decided to change her life and focus on her true passion: WINE.
Bodegas Faustino. Rioja
With over 14 years of experience in the wine business, Benoit Petillon is the Export Director for Grupo Faustino, one of the oldest family owned wineries from Rioja in Spain - Est. in 1861. Faustino is the leading brand and exporter of Gran Reserva & Reserva Rioja covering many key regions of Spain, including the iconic winery PORTIA, designed by one of the world's most famous architect - Lord Foster. Fun fact: Benoit is also a marathon and triathlon runner!
David Ramos is a Madrilenian finder of curios and trends in gastronomic cuisine and CEO of Klimer, a distribution company offering integral solutions and equipment to the hospitality industry and gastronomy lovers alike. Klimer offers restaurants, hotels, catering and cocktail parties everything they can imagine. If you are trying a dish presented in some curious container in Spain, chances are good David Ramos and Klimer are the ones who brought it there.
After attending the School of Hospitality in Barcelona, Jordi Parra was a chef on the legendary team at the restaurant Jean Luc Figueras (Barcelona), one of the founders of contemporary Catalan cuisine. He went to cook at Espai Sucre of Jordi Butrón, El Celler de Can Roca, Mugaritz, and got involved in the world the catering with the Sibaris company. Then he joined the El Bulli team and where he helped configure the Bulli Workshop with Ferran Adrià.
After a fruitful two-year walk through the renowned Bodegas Campos restaurant (Cordoba), where he was an executive chef and took direct responsibility for the R & D strategy, training, purchasing management and restaurant staff, banquets, the production center and the catering school, Parra returned to El Bulli Taller to design, with Ferran Adrià, the development of the new projects led by El Bulli.
In 2013 he took the technical direction of Grup GSR (San Sebastian Gastronomic Congress, Alimentaria Congress, Andalusia Sabor congress, congresses in the USA, Brazil, Tokyo, etc...), forming part of the talent team in the areas of creativity, accounting and budget management, commercial policy, sales strategy, production, event management, cooking, logistics, communication and general coordination of the company.
His next challenge was to direct the coordination and culinary management of the Carles Abellán group, with such emblematic venues as Tapas 24, Bravo, FC Barcelona stadium restaurants, and new openings on the Barceloneta beach.
After leaving Grup GSR in 2017, Parra is currently a gastronomic and hotel consultant for various national and international projects
Con Amor. Madrid
Juanjo Canals is the chef/owner of the restaurant Con Amor in Madrid's Chamberí neighborhood. At Con Amor, they understand that the main ingredient in life as well as in the kitchen is the love and they use it in large quantities in all their dishes.
J. Molina. Madrid / Portland
Luis Moyano Molina is a native of Madrid. Luis’s family descended from the Moors who inhabited Blanca and his whole family has been dedicated to the production and sale of food since their ancestor Abrahim el Cachopo sold wheat in the Almudí of Murcia in 1431. His flavors are Castilian and Andalusian, with a marked Murcia influence and enriched by his own experiences and the recipes of his mother and grandmother, who taught him to love the kitchen. Now he offers Portland the flavors and traditions of his home.
Manuel Alonso (Michelin-starred)
Casa Manolo. Valencia
Chef Manuel Alonso is inspired by his parents. He remembers always being stuck to his mother's apron wanting to learn cooking secrets. In 2011, Manuel took the reins of the kitchen of Casa Manolo. Casa Manolo is included in the most prestigious guides in Spain: Michelin, Repsol, Gourmetour, among others. Critic Antonio Vergara ranks among his rice restaurants for excellence; José Carlos Capel, among the ten best places in Spain to eat rice; Vanity Fair as one of the ten best chiringuitos of Spain; by Carlos Maribona as one of the 10 best places with sea views; and The Michelin Guide highlights its winery as one of the most complete in Spain. In 2014 Casa Manolo was recognized with its first Michelin star and Repsol sun.
Mikel de Luis
aMona. Bilbao / New York
Mikel de Luis has worked worked with the esteemed 8 Michelin-Star Chef Martin Berasategui and was his Sous chef at the Ritz Carlton in the Canary Islands. He has also worked with renowned chefs such as Jordi Aros, Maren Urdangarin, Jaume Rius, Paolo Casagrande and Antony Bombacci. Born in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain, Mikel Trevino de Luis’s love for cooking, sports and nature, along with the values instilled by his family since childhood, all have had a significant influence in both his personal and professional life. aMona, his company focused in small contemporary bites that explores different cuisines and techniques, reflects a lifelong dream come true where he now develops sauces based on his travels and in memory of his beloved grandmother. Chef de Luis earned a degree from the Escuela de Hostelatge de Barcelona and in 2011 won the TV show competition Chef Hunters from the Food Network.
Born in Bilbao, Victor Charcan has spent 20 years touring the world and selling wine, starting with family vineyards in Navarra (Rioja Baja), then at Bodegas Faustino as an Export Area manager, Grupo Artevino as Export Director, El Coto/Barón de Ley, and he currently is the Sales Director at Bodegas Roda.
The Esteve Nadal family owns four parcels totaling about 40 hectares in the Avinyonet. Xavier and his three siblings blend tradition, technology, and a relentless pursuit of quality to make their distinctive cavas. Their use of only estate grown fruit with long lees aging, on-demand disgorgement, vintage dating, and ever evolving organic farming all signal that the Esteve family will keep innovating and excelling for generations to come.
The first-generation American daughter of Russian immigrants, Bonnie Morales grew up in Chicago and has a unique view on the culture and cuisine of the former Soviet Union. Briefly working for a design consultancy in New York, Bonnie left product design to pursue a career in food – honing her skills in several of New York and Chicago’s Michelin starred restaurants. Bonnie opened Kachka, her dream restaurant devoted to the cuisine of Russia and former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, and Uzbekistan, in 2014 to much acclaim. Despite being open for just over a year, Kachka is already a staple in the Portland restaurant community and has received accolades from publications like The Oregonian, Bon Appétit, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. When Bonnie isn’t in the kitchen, she spends her time with her husband, Israel, and her son.
Galaxy Wine Company. Portland
Brian Martin is a Portfolio Manager for wholesaler, importer, and distributor of fine wines, Galaxy Wine Company. Based in Portland, Oregon, Galaxy Wine Company distributes wines from around the globe to retailers, restaurants, and wine shops in Oregon.
Clyde Common. Twisted Filipino. Portland
Carlo Lamagna is the Executive Chef at Clyde Common and Twisted Filipino Dinner Series where he leads the kitchens in preparing simple yet exquisitely executed food from a menu that has no boundaries or borders. Lamagna was born in the Philippines, and lived in Canada and Michigan until he was a teenager when he returned to the Philippines. At the core of Lamagna’s cooking is his family and his Filipino heritage, both of which played significant roles in his career. The food he ate while growing up, from his mom’s potatoes and beef on rice, his brother’s chili, his dad’s pork adobo, and his sister’s baking, all hold a special place in his heart and have been large influences in his cooking today. At Clyde Common and his Twisted Filipino Dinners, Lamagna’s dishes are a glimpse into his life: where he’s come from and where he’s been, coming together to make something new. He uses classic techniques with modern, beautiful plating, and his food is old school flavor, with new school style.
Fifty Licks. Portland
Fifty Licks owner Chad Draizin loves food science. He is fascinated by the chemical cartwheels that happen when beer is brewed, bread is baked, and ice cream is churned (or spun, as they say in the biz). His first love, brewing beer, is what brought him to Portland for an internship at Portland Brewing. He fell in love with the rain, but he couldn't find a place to get a good scoop of ice cream. Or a good cup of Cuban coffee. So he fixed up a cheerful blue truck, and started experimenting. His mission? Perfect texture without chemical stabilizers, fake sugars, or fake eggs. Mission accomplished! Come see for yourself.
Gabe Rosen had dreamed of running a restaurant since he was a little kid in Iowa so he moved out to Oregon to go to cooking school in the late 90s. He got a Japanese degree, moved to Japan, came back, and then in 2007 opened an Izakaya called Biwa with his amazing wife, Kina. In 2015 Gabe and Kina opened their magical realism diner/ increasingly Mexican fusion ramen shop, Noraneko, under the Hawthorne Bridge. Biwa underwent significant renovations in 2016 and at that time they created a new cocktail bar and Japanese late night diner, Parasol. Gabe’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Bon Appetit, Sunset, and Cowboys and Indians.
Jaret Foster & Mona Johnson
classically trained chefs Jaret and Mona bring together their love of community and farm-focused food through their culinary event space and boutique catering company, Tournant, to create memorable moments around the table. As a welcoming and well-appointed space for both private and public events, the Tournant dining room hosts a spirited blend of pop-up dinners, holiday parties, supper clubs, company retreats, birthday celebrations and cooking classes. Dedicated to the craft of good cooking and drawing inspiration from the seasons and bounty of the Northwest, Tournant catering is an extension of Jaret and Mona’s dining room and philosophy.
NED LUDD. Portland
Jason French is the head chef and owner at Ned Ludd, an American Craft Kitchen and Elder Hall, a Gathering Space in Portland, Oregon. Inspired by classic traditions of farm driven craft cookery, French’s menus perfectly embody his culinary philosophy of seasonally delicious fare. French and his team believe that great food ultimately requires more passion for and attention to the harmony created when one genuinely considers its provenance, preparation and presentation.
Javier Canteras is the Owner and Chef of Urdaneta, a tapas-style restaurant deeply rooted in the appreciation for traditional Spanish gastronomy and drink. Canteras’ family moved to the US when he was five. A native of Spain, he frequently took trips back with his family where he learned to make desserts and family dishes alongside his father and grandfather. His family cooked together, creating simple yet inventive meals that drew inspiration from recipes passed down throughout the years, the fresh produce found at local farmer markets, food trucks, and tapas bars found across the vast Basque region. Canteras holds an impressive culinary track, spanning almost two decades as an established Executive Chef and Owner in several restaurants and projects globally. His most recent venture led him to a brief staging role, working alongside Albert Adria of Bodega 1900 in Barcelona. Urdaneta is a celebration of traditional Spanish fare that sings an ode to the bustling tapas bars found within the heart of Madrid. Many of the dishes reflect those rare moments in time – a fond childhood memory or recent homecoming – of his native Spain, which he now shares with Portland’s growing Spanish food scene.
James B. Asbel was educated as a writer and architect and is fluent in Spanish. He has made regular visits to Spain since 1974 when he did his undergraduate foreign study in Madrid. As a graduate architecture student at Harvard University and later as tenured professor of architecture at The University of North Carolina, his principle research area was historic and contemporary Spanish architecture and rural settlement patterns. In 1990 he founded a design workshop for American architecture students in Santander, on the Cantabrian coast, right between the Basque Country and Asturias, the primary cider producing regions. Running the studio through 2000, Jim spent every summer directing community-based projects with regional professionals and academics in many related fields. After retirement from teaching in 2000, James ran a private architectural practice in Rhode Island. Longing for more freedom to travel again in Spain, and drawing on his life-long experience conveying Spanish culture to Americans, he founded Ciders of Spain, the only importer exclusively of Spanish cider, in 2012. In January, 2017 he moved the company headquarters to Portland where he now resides with his wife of 35 years, Holly Grosvenor, an architect and landscape painter.
Toro Bravo. PLAZA DEL TORO. Portland
John Gorham is Co-Owner and Executive Chef of iconic Portland restaurants Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons, Tasty n Alder, Mediterranean Exploration Company, Shalom Y'all, and PLAZA DEL TORO. Gorham believes that a chef’s cuisine and style is influenced by a trade route composed of travels, past work, cities lived in, and foods that their family made growing up. A ‘chef of the people’, Gorham celebrates a range of global cuisines at his influential restaurants; each with a unique identity but all embodying the quintessential Portland dining experience of family-style dishes, house-made charcuterie and seasonal sustainably-sourced ingredients.
Can Font. Portland / Barcelona
Chef Josep Vidal operates Can Font in Spain, a restaurant recommended by the Michelin guide that operates in the countryside near Barcelona. Can Font Portland serves traditional Catalan fine cuisine with locally sourced products in a modern Northwest atmosphere.
Pollo Bravo. Portland
Native Oregonian Josh Scofield is the chef/owner of Pollo Bravo, a Spanish rotisserie and tapas bar in the Pine Street Market. Scofield began his career in the kitchen working at notable Portland restaurants such as Wildwood, Jake’s Famous Crawfish, Taqueria Nueve, and developed the charcuterie programs at all the Toro Bravo Inc Restaurant Group’s properties in Portland. Pollo Bravo is inspired by Pollo Rico in Barcelona and the many rotisseries in Sevilla and Valencia, the San Miguel Mercado in Madrid and many plates of Chicken Carbon from Scofield's extensive travels throughout Mexico.
Mediterranean Exploration Company. Shalom Y'all. Portland
Kasey Mills is Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Mediterranean Exploration Company (M.E.C.) and Shalom Y'all. Mills opened M.E.C in July 2014 with mentor and Portland restaurateur John Gorham, owner of Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons and Tasty n Alder. Mills and Gorham worked closely together at Toro Bravo for years. Inspired by the way a region’s cuisine tells a story of its peoples’ interactions and exchanges over time, Mills aims to bring the rich cultural history of the eastern Mediterranean to the Pacific Northwest. His menu of diverse yet cohesive dishes pays tribute to the exploration of people across the Mediterranean throughout history.
Chef Kyle was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up in Vancouver, Washington. His passion for cooking was fostered at a young age by his Japanese grandmother Fujiko, a former cooking instructor who would only share her recipes with Kyle at family gatherings, while telling everyone else that she would have to charge them $10.
Kyle graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 2011. After graduating, Kyle worked with Chef Nic Yanes in both Portland, at the H50 Bar and Bistro, and then in Austin, Texas. Kyle moved back to Portland in the summer of 2013 and started working at Ox Restaurant under Chefs Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton.
In his tenure at Ox, the Dentons have won many national honors, including Food and Wine's coveted Best New Chefs and the James Beard Foundation's Best Chefs Northwest award. Kyle also contributed to the Dentons' first cookbook, Around the Fire.
Kyle met his fiancée Nancy while cooking together at Ox, and they had a child born on Valentine's Day of 2017.
PLAZA DEL TORO. Portland
After 15 years of sushi in the San Diego area, Michael Kessler left California for culinary school in Las Vegas, where he started working for his first Michelin-starred restaurant, the acclaimed Andre’s French Restaurant. From Andre’s he worked at Koi in Planet Hollywood, RM Seafood in Mandalay Bay, and opened Bar Masa in Las Vegas, which soon moved him to the 3 Michelin-starred Masa in New York. Michael went on to work for April Bloomfield, David Burke, and was a sous chef for Masaharu Morimoto. Kessler traveled to Portland with his wife for a two week visit in 2011 and never left. In his spare time, Michael enjoys cycling, going to the gym, and preparing for the zombie apocalypse at Washington Park Archery Range.
Bar Casa Vale. Portland
Nate Tilden has been in the restaurant business for over fifteen years. Tilden started out as a dishwasher then worked his way up to a chef. He managed Castagna for two years before opening Clyde Common in May 2007 and has since opened Olympia Provisions, Spirit of '77, Pepe Lo Moko, The Richmond Bar and the Spanish-inspired Bar Casa Vale.
Pat Manning grew up in Kremling, Colorado buoying skiing, snowboarding and skateboarding in his mountain home. Pat moved to Portland with his wife and a single intention: conquer culinary school. While Pat quickly learned that no one conquers culinary school, and instead you earn everything in the restaurant business, the Le Courdon Bleu WCI was his foot in the door at Toro Bravo. As the dishwasher. After proving himself in the pit, he externed as a prep cook and began working his way up the ladder. In 2011, Pat moved back to Colorado only to find the culinary scene lacking and his heart missing Toro Bravo. He and Kate returned to Portland in 2012 to make it their forever home. Toro Bravo was an integral piece of that move, similarly the restaurant home that Pat always sought. He took over the role of Chef de Cuisine at Toro Bravo in 2014.
Multnomah Athletic Club. Portland
Philippe Boulot graduated from the prestigious cooking school Jean Drouant in Paris before spending two years in the French army stationed in the South Pacific. Boulot spent a year working with world-renowned chef Joel Robuchon at Hotel Nikko in Paris, and when Robuchon opened Chez Jamin (three-star Michelin), he made Boulot the chef saucier, a position he later held at L'Archestrate (three-star Michelin). From there, Boulot took his first executive sous chef position at the Inn on the Park in London. He later served as executive sous chef at Four Seasons' famed Clift Hotel. Boulot moved to New York, where he designed and ran the kitchen in The Mark Hotel, earning accolades and a reputation for excellence. In 1994, Boulot became executive chef at the Heathman Hotel. He was one of the first Portland chefs to embrace the Northwest's abundance of seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Under his leadership, the restaurant received many accolades, including USA Today's "Favorite Hotel Restaurant." As well as Best restaurant of the year in the Oregonian. He was awarded the James Beard Best Chef in the Northwest in 2001, while at the Heathman. Boulot embarked on a new adventure at Multnomah Athletic Club in January 2009. He now oversees 1891, which focuses on high-end Northwest cuisine, MAC's Sports Pub, the grab-and-go cafe Joe's, the outdoor Sunset Bistro, and a banquet facility that holds events for up to 1,000 people.
Upon graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Rick spent four years as sous chef at Todd English's Olives. Rick moved cross country to San Francisco where he worked at both Rubicon and One Market restaurants. He crossed the continent once again to open Miramar Restaurant and Olives Restaurant in New York City. Later, Rick became the Chef at the Inn at Shelburne Farms, located on the non-profit environmental education center and working farm in Shelburne, Vermont. In 2009, Rick and his family moved to Portland, drawn to the diverse food culture and its commitment to local, sustainable, farm to table cuisine. Rick opened Lardo as a food cart in September 2010, and now has three thriving brick-and-mortar restaurants.
Rocky Maselli is one of the original founders of Marché in Eugene, Oregon. After serving as Marché’s chef from 1998 through 2010, Rocky opened Osteria Sfizio, an Italian concept in Oakway Center, before moving to San Francisco in 2012 to open A16 Rockridge. This year Rocky is returning home to Eugene after a successful tenure at San Francisco’s celebrated Italian restaurants, A16 and A16 Rockridge, which he opened in 2013 to enormous critical praise. He has served as their company chef since 2014, leading both restaurants, and led an A16 expansion project in Japan.
Alma Chocolate. Portland
In 2004, Sarah Hart wondered why so many chocolate easter bunnies were so awful. The chocolate was waxy, the designs so tacky. Theobroma held so much promise. It was, after all, the food of the gods. Why not make something worthy? In 2005, Sarah started playing with chocolate recipes, creating iconic molds and hand-gilding them in edible gold leaf. She perfected these treats the hard way, through trial and error. When she discovered that Alma -- her grandmother's name -- meant soul in Spanish and nourish in Latin, she knew she had one divinely edible concept. Wanting to take it to the next level, she found an instructor to come to her home; Ian Titterton taught Sarah what he knew about chocolate. When Sarah’s kitchen became too small to keep up with orders, she began selling at the Farmer’s Market, where she still keeps a booth on Saturdays. In 2006 Alma chocolate opened a retail storefront and quickly garnished waves of media attention, critical accolades and a devoted fan following. In 2008, Hart was named “The Rising Star” in The Next Generation Chocolatier Awards (the James Beard awards of the chocolate industry). She staged at Valrhona in France and kept growing the chocolate line and the shop’s offerings. She now manages a small staff of talented chocolatiers, bakers and baristas who have helped grow Alma’s offerings to include small batch ice-creams, chocolatey drinks, espressos and choco-centric baked goods.
Crown Paella. Portland
Scott Ketterman began his culinary career working in a family-run seafood restaurant in Maryland before being drawn to Portland by the proximity of the mountains and ocean. He spent several years building upon his expertise at Viande Meats artisan butcher shop and in the quality kitchens of Paley’s Place and the Heathman Restaurant. Then, he departed the country to work abroad in some of Spain’s renowned restaurants. He honed his skills as a stagiaire at Mugaritz, a Michelin two-star restaurant near the food mecca San Sebastian, as well as at Pedro Subijana’s three-star Akelare. Upon returning to Portland, Scott found his place as the Chef of Simpatica where he spent four years at the helm before creating Crown Paella.
Tobias Hogan & Ethan Powell
EaT Oyster Bar. Portland
Growing up in Oregon Tobias Hogan began his culinary education at his grandmother's side learning the family recipes carried over from Sicily and finished training under his business partner and French Culinary Institute graduate Ethan Powell. Knowing his true passion was food & wine a career change moved him from Boston to Portland in 2004 founding the award winning EaT: An Oyster Bar in 2008. The restaurant is founded on the principle of sourcing high quality ingredients to present the true nature of traditional New Orleans, LA Southern cuisine and offering the freshest locally farmed Oysters you can find." Ethan Powell discovered his passion for cuisine at the age of 8 in a place called Texarkana, AR when he was in charge of Tuesday family dinner. His foray into cuisine began with hors d'oeuvres of sliced tomato, beautiful cubes of Kraft cheddar cheese, and Atkins pickles followed with an entree of Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff. From there, the sky was the limit. He temporarily veered off his culinary path to earn a degree in finance at the University of Central Arkansas. Shortly after college he returned to his calling and attended the French Culinary Institute in New York City. After a few years in NYC, he ventured to Portland on a whim. He was the opening chef at Everett Street Bistro and from there moved to the helm of the novo-Peruvian restaurant Andina. In 2008, he teamed up with Tobias Hogan to showcase he native southern cuisine and opened EaT: An oyster bar.