For Day One of “On The Road With Oregon Bounty” I visited the Portland Metro region, and spent the morning learning how to make the “Shazam!” (more about that to come). People often say that Portland is like Paris: a great city surrounded by a year-round bounty of products and an army of top chefs. I’m not saying that a walk along the Willamette River rivals a stroll on the Seine, but there are some awfully talented food artists here.

Take Cheryl Wakerhauser. Her Pix Patisserie has quickly launched itself into the forefront of desserts in Portland. My day began with a visit to Cheryl’s North Portland kitchen, where I tried my hand at being a pastry chef (“tried” being the operative word here). For Cheryl (aka “Pix”), becoming a pastry chef was second on her list as a career choice. As a kid, she wanted to be an astronaut. Portland’s collective sweet tooth is thankful she discovered sugar, eggs and flour instead.

Cheryl showed me the fine art of working with chocolate, and I learned how to mold it into the towering “Shazam!”, her signature caramel mousse with salted almonds, chocolate cake, more caramel, and a topping of “magic dust.” I got the hang of it pretty quickly, although I don’t think she’s going to be making me a job offer anytime soon. If you’re pondering a trip to Portland during Oregon Bounty, there’s a package available where you can spend the afternoon honing your own pastry skills with Cheryl. Check out the Portland Metro section of and click on Experience Packages.

I followed up my morning pastry lesson with a tour of one of Portland’s many farmers markets, this one downtown in the city’s cultural district. To see a video diary of my experiences today, just click on the video window here. To read about my reflections of watching Portland grow into the restaurant city it is today, click here.

See you tomorrow!

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