Interviews

Exclusive interviews with leaders in their craft.

Quick Spin: Comedian Matt Braunger

The fact that we even have Bridgetown Comedy Festival today can be owed to comedian Matt Braunger (and co-founder, Andy Wood). Braunger, who was born and raised in northeast Portland, describes himself as “…a lightning-rod of awkwardness…” in one of his specials. His humor is grab-a-beer-with-a-friend relatable, and he bursts with energy on stage.

Quick Spin: Chef Richie Nakano

San Francisco chef Richie Nakano is as widely known for his opinions as he is for his ramen. An online biography describes the cocksure chef as “the expert of kitchen trash talk”, his regularly updated Twitter feed peppered with sideswipes at everything from local regulations to “Best Of” lists.

Quick Spin: Chef Adam Higgs of Portland’s Acadia

I arrived in this weird Pacific Northwest city back in the early 2000s, settling into a house in Portland’s then-undesirable Northeast neighborhood. I remember being pretty dismayed with the food options in the area, venturing out one night, determined to find a great restaurant nearby. Thankfully, I stumbled upon a dimly lit corner spot on Fremont Avenue, where the menu at Acadia pulled me in, full of seafood and Cajun spices, and I stayed for both dinner and dessert.

Chefs Steven McHugh and Michael Gulotta on Cured, MOPHO, and life in the kitchen with Chef John Besh

The guidance and training a chef receives within the kitchen – particularly during those early years – often dictates the tone of his or her career, from knife skills and spices to business acumen and demeanor. Whether cookbooks or creative bios, it is always referenced where a chef has worked previously, ripples that continue to flow for years to come. Particularly when it is a great chef – Boulud, Keller, Chang – it is exciting to see the evolution, the next generation of creativity emerging from the kitchens and training, ready to build on their own dreams.

Quick Spin: Bartender Jordan Felix of the Multnomah Whiskey Library

The Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library, the long awaited cocktail destination from Alan Davis of Produce Row Cafe, is everything you’ve heard it to be. The selection of over 1500 pours from around the world, handpicked by resident whisk(e)y expert, Tommy Klus, is breathtaking, lining a full wall six shelves high. A rolling ladder is used to access it all, bottles of every color and size flooded with a warm yellow light that draws your attention despite the beauty and detail of the entire room. Every gathering around a table is punctuated with plush and leather seating, couches and chairs, tall custom drink trays awaiting your next choice off the extensive menu.