Feast Portland, The Newest And Hottest Food Fest, Shows What The Pacific Northwest Is Made Of
By Heather Cassell, Girls That Roam
Portland’s newest food festival is about to enjoy it’s most bountiful year kicking off harvest season for the fourth annual Feast Portland.
Upward of 12,000 foodies will descend upon the Rose City, September 17 – 20.
It’s going to be a gastronomical event featuring celebrity chefs Amanda Cohen, Elizabeth Faulkner (Top Chef Masters, Next Iron Chef), Gregory Gourdet (Top Chef) among the local, national, and for the first time ever, international chefs, presenting their latest creations at the festival.
Feast Portland is intimate in the sense that attendees actually get to meet the chefs and more than 30 taste masters. Perhaps more important the celebrity chefs will be presenting this year along with more than 100 local, national, and international chefs; nearly 40 wineries; more than 15 breweries and cider houses, and nearly 15 distilleries, along with 15 Oregon artisans showing off what Portland and Oregon has to offer in culinary and imbibing delights.
This year also marks the first time Feast Portland is going international with British chefs James Knappett and Ollie Dabbous, Canadian chefs Angus An and Jackie Ellis, and Norwegian chef Christopher Haatuft serving up their international flavors.
“It is unlike any other festival that you might have been to. Its smaller, it’s more intimate, the chefs talk to you, they want to shake your hand, the wineries want to pour their wine for you,” says Carrie Welch, who co-founded the festival with Mike Thelin, about the nearly sold out four-day event. “When you talk to them, you are usually talking to the person who crushed the grapes and made that wine.”
Feast Portland has been on the cutting edge of showing off the Pacific Northwestern town’s gastronomic adventures in local to global fare. Within a very short amount of time, it has gotten a huge stamp of approval from food experts and media, Fodor’s even named it one of the Top 15 food festivals to attend.
“I want to give the entire country an excuse to come to Portland every year,” says Carrie, who along with her team has “handcrafted” the festival making it one of the most desirable food festivals in North America.
Two of Carrie’s favorite events are Feast’s opening event, the Sandwich Invitational, Thursday, September 17, 6 – 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday’s (September 18 and 19) daytime event the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting.
She can’t imagine a better way than to spend an evening under Portland’s stars and skyline eating and drinking great food and beer with 1,000 of “your closest friends” at the Sandwich Invitational in Portland’s Director Park, she says.
Her second favorite event, Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, is what she calls the festival’s “almost underestimated.” The afternoon feast with Oregon’s hand selected artesian foods and wineries are a surprise treat for guest in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
“Once you go to it you are like, ‘Oh my god! This is really a great amalgamation of food and drink,’” says Carrie, describing it as a “one stop shop” to experience the best of Oregon.
“We are about bringing chefs from Portland, from around the country, and around the world really together and making something that feels fresh, new, different, and exciting in food,” says Carrie.
Sarah Schafer, executive chef at Irving Street Kitchen in Portland’s Pearl District agrees.
“It does a really good job of showcasing the chef in Portland,” says Sarah, who has participated in Feast since its birth. “It’s more about the food and the chefs.”
“A lot of my chef friends who come here for it get super excited about it,” says Sarah, who will team up with fellow former San Franciscan Elizabeth, Brooklyn’s chef dynamo, and other female chefs at Girls! Girls! Girls! and will be cooking up Jaquan tamales for the Brunch Village.
Sarah is the former executive chef of Anchor and Hope in San Francisco.
“It’s an opportunity for us to see what each other is doing [and] to cheat and steal from each other,” says Sarah about Feast.
Of course what meal wouldn’t be complete without the perfect beverage?
Festival goers can dive deep into becoming better chefs, bakers and mixologists during one of the many workshops offered up at Feast. The day that Girls That Roam chatted with Carrie she was very excited about the newly added workshop, Shaken, Stirred and Buzzed: Why We Really Like Booze. Guests will learn about the evolution of people’s taste for beer, cocktails, and wine during the workshop led by the fine imbibers at Bon Appétit on Friday (September, 18).
“[It’s] almost like a history of why you love drinking,” says Carrie. “[It’s] how people have evolved their taste for cocktails and wine and beer over the years.”
The Bon Appetite editorial team will talk about “what their favorite drinks are, how they drink, and why, which is almost an introspective look at alcohol.”
Pioneering food personality James Beard would be proud of his hometown, Portland, which has turned into a gourmet paradise. It’s more vibrant than ever and adhering to practices he treasured, local, sustainable, and American as well as welcoming the flavors of the world to the Rose City.
Portland is known for its food trucks and being chock full of breweries sprinkled throughout the city like Starbucks along with a growing distillery and cider house scene. Just beyond the city limits fresh produce and meats come from the farms and ranches and the Pacific Ocean is only an hour and a half away with all that fresh catch. All this fresh food is creatively crafted into tasty artful plates and paired with wines from Oregon’s Willamette Valley that is only an hour road trip away.
It’s a chef’s fantasy come true and it’s all in Portland.
“I just hope that everyone comes and has a phenomenal time,” Carrie says.
Tickets are going fast, but there is still time to join the feast. For more information, visit FeastPortland.com. Get your weekend Package deals for $530 or $2100 per person. Individual tickets are available for the Main Events ($60-$95); Dinner Series ($75 – $150); Hands on Classes ($75); and the Drink Tank ($35 – $55).