The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2013

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CHEFS: ONE-ON-ONE WITH MERRILL SHINDLER Jenn Louis LEFT BRAIN/RIGHT BRAIN COOKING WITH THE CHEF OF PORTLAND'S LINCOLN AND SUNSHINE TAVERN J Chef Jenn Louis. enn Louis was not to the kitchen born. It wasn't until she backed into a job cooking for an Outward Bound base camp in the North Carolina woods that she discovered the kitchen was the place she's happiest in the world. She went on to enroll at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. She created a catering company called Culinary Artistry. And then, with her husband David Welch, opened two of Portland's most respected restaurants: Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern—restaurants built around the year-round abundance of the Pacific Northwest. Merrill Shindler: What was food like growing up? Jenn Louis: All meals were made from scratch; getting together to eat was very important to my family. But all meals were made by my mom. She was the matriarch. Roast chicken, homemade breads -- real food. I didn't do much cooking growing up. But I did lots of good eating. What did you study in college? Environmental studies, religious studies and women's studies. None of which involved food. But I did start cooking in the dorms. Instead of going with the meal plan, I did it myself. With no training, how did you deal with landing a job as a wilderness cook? I'd go to sleep with a pad and pen next to the bed, thinking about what I was going to make next. I realized cooking is very left brain/right brain—you have a budget, but you can be creative within those bounds. It's the best of all worlds for me. Which kitchen tool is essential? I'm not very gadget obsessed. I like a really good knife. I love cast iron. It's not expensive. It lasts forever. A good heavy-bottomed pot. A good wooden spoon. Do you have a favorite food destination? Whatever is the food of the region. Wherever I am, I eat the food that's unique to where I am. I went to Italy— and became obsessed with gnocchi. [Which she's turned into a cookbook, to be published in 2014.] And do you have a guilty pleasure? I love sweet and savory in equal parts. But I do have a special place for peanut butter malted milk balls. They're wonderful. David Welch, Co-Owner/Beverage Director Co-owner David Welch serves as Maître'd and Bar Manager of both Sunshine Tavern and Lincoln, where he has curated a wine list that runs the gamut from star Oregon Pinots to Gavi grown near the Ligurian border. His playful cocktails are seasonally focused concoctions rooted in the classics. His ever-changing drink menus are enhanced with an array of housemade sodas. In addition, Welch is on a continuous search for the best craft beers and local artisanal wines on the market. While Welch has spent the better part of his adulthood working in some of Portland's finest restaurants, he has also served as a reporter for Oregon Public Broadcasting and a producer of national radio programs, including the popular food show "The Splendid Table. Welch has also penned stories for a number of local " publications, including Portland Monthly, The Oregonian and Edible Portland. The focus has remained on one topic across the board: food and beverage. 38  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2013 TP0913_034-62.indd 38 8/22/13 9:21 PM

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