In November, chefs from Oregon’s Tribal Casinos gathered at Chinook Winds Casino Resort for the very first Rez Kitchen Tour. The Rez Kitchen Tour, made possible by a grant from the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, was designed to showcase traditional tribal cuisine in a two-day culinary competition. The event hosted chefs from 8 of Oregon’s 9 Tribal Casinos.

all_dishesOn the first day of the competition, nine teams each prepared two dishes – a salmon dish and a dish of the chef’s choice –  for a private panel of judges. I had a “back-stage pass” for this portion of the competition and was amazed by the fantastic looking plates that were served (photos in slideshow above). If smell-a-vision were such a thing, I’d also share with you the fantastic smells that were coming from each of the team’s stations.

During the second day of competition, the public was invited to come and sample food from each team and vote for their favorite. It was during this part of the event that I tasted a piece of venison so flavorful and tender that I wished I hadn’t spent the majority of my life claiming that I didn’t like venison.

Over 400 ballots were cast, naming the Chinook Winds Team the People’s Choice winner.  Other winners were:

The Rez  Kitchen Tour is slated to be an annual event, stay tuned for next year’s location!

About the Author: Rhiannon West Chamberlain

Rhiannon is a native Oregonian who grew up exploring the nooks and crannies of the Oregon Coast and daydreaming in Powell’s City of Books. She now lives in NE Portland with her husband and her new baby boy and looks forward to teaching him to love Oregon as much as she does. Rhiannon attended both the University of Oregon and Portland State University, where she studied Journalism and Mass Media. She claims to ‘bleed green’ and happily cheers for both the Ducks and the Vikings every chance she gets. In her free time, Rhiannon enjoys sipping Oregon Pinot, finding new restaurants, bargain hunting and trying new recipes – sometimes successfully. She has a child-like enthusiasm for trying new things and rediscovering old ones – such as skee-ball, mini golf, and big slides.

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