Searching for Oregon Bounty With Chef Gabriel Rucker
Chef Gabriel Rucker knows Oregon bounty. As the owner of Portland restaurants LePigeon and Little Bird, Rucker uses the freshest Oregon ingredients to create the experimental French cuisine that has earned him two James Beard Awards — Best Chef Northwest, 2013, and Rising Star Chef of the Year, 2011.
This passionate localvore spends plenty of face time with the regional farmers, fishermen and foragers who’ve sought out the very best, freshest ingredients for his kitchen. “Know the farmer,” he says. “Know the person who is delivering your fish. I have great relationships with all of my purveyors.”
On a typical summer day, the counter at LePigeon overflows with ripe strawberries, bright cherry tomatoes, crisp greens, fragrant lavender and fresh oysters as Rucker looks over the deliveries and begins to dream up the evening menu.
Rucker has made a point to get to know Oregon’s bounty firsthand with trips to Eastern Oregon beef country, Bendistillery in Central Oregon and Full Sail Brewing in the Columbia River Gorge. This familiarity allows him to create the best out of Oregon bounty — dishes like beer-braised and hop-smoked pork cheeks, grilled beef rubbed with dried porcinis and dried candy cap mushrooms, crispy frog legs with radish and fennel salad, and desserts to swoon over.
“This menu, it is as Oregon as I can get,” he says.
Explore Portland: Spend some time getting to know Portland’s food scene. Visit Rucker’s restaurants and then book a room at The Jupiter Hotel, a mid-century renovated boutique hotel on Portland’s east side, and taste your way around the city.
about author Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.
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