Pathways to a Culinary Career

Ok, so you've heard me say it a million times: I went to culinary school to get into food writing, not to necessarily become a chef. So enough about me-except one last thing: I'm not the only one. Thanks to the growing interest in all things culinary, people are learning that there is more to do in the culinary world aside from being a chef. And God love our chefs; we couldn't eat so well without them! 

But what about those taking the amazing photos of food, and those writing about it? There is much more in store than one might think, and I'm so excited to say that the Portland Culinary Alliance is hosting an event next weekend that will connect those who are interested in exploring other careers in the food world with an amazing line-up of local culinary celebs. 

See the invitation below. The event will take place on Saturday, October 4, but you still have time to register! The alliance is accepting registrations through September 30!


Pathways to a Culinary Career

Seminar and 3-Course Lunch

Presented by Chef Cathy Whims and Portland Culinary Alliance

Nostrana Restaurant, 1401 SE Morrison St., Portland

Saturday, October 4, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Join Portland’s top culinary talents to learn about a cornucopia of career choices. 

Here it’s not just the chefs, but culinarians following their own paths who add their special spice to the tasty mix that makes up our food-centric town.

At “Pathways to a Culinary Career,” you’ll meet food bloggers whose online presence has led to magazine assignments and book contracts; entrepreneurs who made a splash from a food cart or from a Farmers Market booth; and chefs who gained wide renown with cooking as a second or unexpected career. You’ll get great tips from food writers and editors, from prolific cookbook authors, top food publicists and a talented food photographer and food stylist.  

The panels of experts will share their knowledge, experience and inspiring stories, with a break for a delicious 3-course lunch served by Nostrana’s Chef Cathy Whims with wine compliments of In Good Taste Cooking School. After the event, presenters who are also authors will sign their cookbooks, which will be available for purchase. (Cash or checks only, please.)

Presenters are Oregonian FOODday editor Martha Holmberg, food writer/cookbook author Ivy Manning and Culinate.com editorial director Kim Carlson; award-winning cookbook authors Diane Morgan and Janie Hibler; bloggers extraordinaire Kathleen Bauer (Good Stuff NW) and Tami Parr (PNW Cheese Project); renowned chefs Cathy Whims and Vitaly Paley; ace food photographer John Valls and food stylist Ellen Jackson; savvy food publicists Lisa Donoughe of LAD Communications and Lisa Hill of Broussard Hill Communication; food cart barista Andrea Spella (Spella Café) and waffle maestro David Stokamer (Flavour Spot); successful Farmers Market entrepreneurs Lisa Herlinger (Ruby Jewel Treats) and Elizabeth Beekley and Anna Phelps (Two Tarts Bakery).

Be sure to arrive before 9 am to enjoy morning coffee and Nostrana’s delicious grape focaccia.

Fee for Seminar/Lunch: $75 ($60 for PCA members; $50 for culinary students)

To register, visit http://pdxca.org/upcoming-events/ and download the form. Direct questions to ashleymgartland@gmail.com


Portland Culinary Alliance is an educational and networking organization for food and beverage professionals. www.pdxca.org


Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page in Portland

I can remember my first day of school like it was yesterday, picking up all of my chef's clothes and books. Oh the stack of books were unbelievable. I think I had 11 in all.

Two books that stood out, and that I've referred to since leaving school, are by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page and are titled The New American Chef and Culinary Artistry. Well I just learned that the culinary duo will be signing copies of their latest book, The Flavor Profile, at In Good Taste this Thursday at 5:30 p.m.!

For anyone who enjoys expert culinary advice that's easy to read and follow or wants an opportunity to ask Dornenburg and Page questions about their journeys, this is an event not to miss. 

The Flavor Bible
Book signing with Karen Page & Andrew Dornenburg

"The respect and admiration that food professionals have for them gives them access to a wonderful depth of knowledge and experience that they bring to life in their work". -- Chef Daniel Boulud
Meet the dazzling duo that brought us "Culinary Artistry", "The New American Chef", "Becoming a Chef", "Dining Out" and the 2007 IACP Cookbook of the Year and Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year "What to Drink With What You Eat". In this intimate venue, you will meet these New York-based James Beard award-winning authors as they share their thoughts on flavors and pairings, the subject of their latest groundbreaking book, “The Flavor Bible”, an essential guide to culinary creativity. After their discussion, you will have the opportunity to ask them questions about the book and their work. At the end of the discussion and Q&A section, the authors will sign your book.

The price of the book ($35) covers your cost of entry to this special evening. You will pick up your book at the event. To register for the event click here.




The Harvest Moon

Did you see the Harvest Moon tonight? The image below isn't actually of our moon, but it is identical to the one we're experiencing tonight (my camera couldn't get a close enough shot of ours way up in the sky). 

I called out to my fellow Twitter friends to see if they had all witnessed it, and my good friend Kelli Matthews (@kmatthews) - who never fails me with her resourcefulness - sent me this link to Wikipedia, which explained a bit of the origins of the Harvest Moon. 

It says that the Harvest Moon is the first full moon after the first frost (have we already had frost??). And, a legend of Norse mythology, it is said to be the most powerful of the Moons granting Loki's blessing for the strong harvest of plenty. 

The Harvest Moon rises 30 minutes later from one night to the next allowing for less time periods of darkness from sunset to moonrise around the time that surrounds these special moons. In the past, it's been said that this feature helped farmers who worked tirelessly to bring in their crops to keep going, event after sunset. 

And that fact there makes me even more excited to see what delectable items will be showcased at our farmers' markets this week. 

Oh, another incredibly important item to note is that one of the Harvest Moon's other names is: the Wine Moon. Now that makes me adore it even more!

For more information, read the full article in the Wikipedia link above. It's interesting to finally know a little history behind the big orange moon up above. 

Cheers, (literally, the moon suggests it!)


In Good Taste is Coming to the Burbs!

At a recent PCA (Portland Culinary Alliance) board meeting, I was ecstatic when one of my co-members, Barbara Dawson, announced that her famed culinary retail and cooking studio, In Good Taste, is opening up a spot in Lake Oswego. And it'll be so close to my house (I'm so excited!).

If you're not familiar with In Good Taste, it's original venue is located in the Pearl on NW 11th. The space is filled with gourmet culinary delights from unique spices, oils and vinegars to the latest kitchen gadget you're looking for, and all the cookbooks you could ever want to dive into. They hold hands-on and educational cooking classes regularly, and they also host private events. It is locally owned by Barbara and her husband, Matt.

The Lake Oswego space will host a grand opening on September 27th from noon - 4:00 p.m.

Additional info:
The address is 6302 SW Meadows Road Lake Oswego, OR 97035

Directions are:

From I-5 heading South; take Exit 292 (Kruse Way/Lake Oswego). Turn left off the exit ramp, heading East on Kruse Way. Turn Right on Bangy Road (the first light). Turn Left on Meadows Road (the first left). Turn right into the Kruse Meadows Shopping Center. We are located directly behind OnPoint Credit Union.

From I-5 heading North; take exit 292b (Kruse Way/Lake Oswego). Come off the exit and go straight through the light onto Bangy Road. Turn left at the next intersection, Meadows Road, and then turn right into the Kruse Meadows Shopping Center. We are located directly behind OnPoint Credit Union.

From HWY 217: Drive south on 217 until it ends on Kruse Way. Turn Right onto Bangy Road and left at the first light, Meadows Road. Turn right into the Kruse Meadows Shopping Center. We are located directly behind OnPoint Credit Union.

Come stop in if you're around. I'll definitely be there to check out this exciting addition to my neighborhood!



Culinary Education Beyond the Kitchen

When I had the idea last year to attend culinary school to get in on the food writing side of things--not to be behind the scenes in the kitchen--most people paused and seemed to be caught off guard a bit. And today, when people learn that I've earned a culinary arts diploma, but have no interest in becoming an executive chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant, they often times look puzzled.

Well my instincts have now been validated! This week The Institute of Culinary Education announced a new line-up of career courses in culinary arts that don't have students necessarily focusing on the kitchen. The school's new Food Media program will offer classes that pertain to various realms of the culinary world such as food writing, food styling and photography, cookbook writing, restaurant reviewing and even creating your own TV food show.

With the burgeoning space of online food blogs and continuing popularity of the Food Network, food magazines and just an overall love for exploring the wonders of the food we eat, it's nice to see an institution offer up a formal educational program that will encourage those looking for a culinary education to think beyond the kitchen and leave with a more well-rounded, savvy mind set of all the aspects and opportunities that await.

To read the official announcement click here.



Always a Love for MC

For the last few nights I've been prepping for a garage sale at my condo. It's a community garage sale and the only sale I've participated in in my life. I'm not a garage-saler, but I hear there is quite a cult of those who live for these things and, well, I've got some stuff that's gotta go!

So after a long week of planning with a neighbor and getting all of my items ready, I finally called it quits on the prep tonight. After closing up the garage and heading back in, I decided it was time for a treat. I try and make a habit of not indulging in sweets often, but I've always got a little something around for those times when I need a little extra decadence in my life.

My recent favorite is the Villars Swiss Milk Chocolate bar with Whole Hazelnuts! I discovered it on one of my most recent trips to Trader Joe's and it's just a perfect bit of heaven when the time calls.

Now I know dark chocolate has garnered most of the spotlight these days it seems, but I truly believe there are more than a few of us who make up a group of dedicated followers in the universe of milk chocolate. Sure, dark chocolate may have its health benefits, but when it comes to a true treat of smooth, rich and yummy moments, milk chocolate will always be #1 for me. And I will admit that my palate has matured to the point of knowing the difference between the chocolate I grew up on (sorry "H") and the experiential taste of European chocolate; there's nothing like it.

Next time you're craving something sweet and rich or need a special treat to finish off your day, try a Villars and let me know what you think!



Eye candy

Hello? Are you still there?

I know I've said it before, but I truly mean it. I miss you when I'm not here! After nearly a month's hiatus from the blog, I'm back to chat with you about what's crossing my path day in and day out in the food world. When I first began this blog more than one year ago, I wanted to document my journey through culinary school and into the world of food writing. Now that school is finished, I'm finding more and more items that I want to share my thoughts with you on. Whether it's the most recent kitchen tool I've purchased, most interesting industry news that I've read, or just the simple pleasures of what's getting my attention in the culinary world these days, I'm happy to be back in front of my laptop with you again.

There always seems to be something that brings me back to life. One of the big things that draws me to the culinary world is the fancy schmancy stuff. Yes, I'm a sucker for the over-the-top, for the hoity toity, stylized plates, extensive lists of fine wines and evenings that require getting dressed up for. I will admit, I get tired of the casual, and find that even in my home city with its burgeoning culinary scene, there is still much more casual nightlife than I'd like. Give me glitz and glamour any day. I don't think we see it enough.

It seems fitting, then, that the latest thing to catch my eye and pull me back to my PC to share the news was something I came across catching up on food blogs via my iPhone last night in bed. You see, I couldn't sleep so I thought it afforded me the perfect opportunity to peak in on some of my favorite food bloggers and see what everyone's talking about.

My first stop was at Orangette. Oh Miss Molly. Her blog is one of the first I absolutely fell in love with when I started exploring the world of food bloggers. Her writing voice is just heavenly and her life has turned into a dream. After shifting gears in her life from graduate studies to working her way into the food writing world, Molly began food blogging in 2004. Just this year she was discovered by Bon Appétit magazine and now has a regularly featured column in the publication. In catching up on her latest post, she mentions she is now off to France for her first travel writing assignment for the pub. Now I am not a jealous person mainly because I think I'm living a fabulous life myself, but I must admit a bit of jealousy with this one. She has worked so hard and I couldn't be happier for her success. And yes, I know, someday I too will be leaving on a jet plane to write about the wonders of France...or Italy...or Greece...or, well, you get the point. Bon Voyage, Molly, and have fun with your new adventures. I can't wait to read all about them when you return.

My next stop was another favorite, Mr. Michael Ruhlman. I think I have a secret crush on Michael Ruhlman, which is slightly off topic, but I just thought I'd throw it in there and get it out in the open. Michael, if you're ever in Portland let's do lunch...or dinner...or simply make a private meal in my condo. Just us. I'm kidding, Donna! Much do respect to you and I absolutely love your photos! Speaking of photos, that is exactly what caught my eye with Michael's post. Ruhlman announced yesterday the upcoming Alinea, the cookbook.

Alinea is a highly anticipated, highly stylized cookbook from the famed Alinea restaurant in Chicago. The photos in the images Ruhlman provided look delicious. And please check out the link to the restaurant. The imagery and photography of its menu items is absolutely sick; in the most delectable way. Oh it's these kinds of plates and these types of photos that get me so excited about food. Fancify, I'll never get tired of dressed up crudites or glamourized hearts of palm. The fact that so much energy goes in to presentation is what makes it so exciting. Go on, check out the site and enjoy the eye candy.

Thank you Michael and Molly and all the other food bloggers out there with the endless supply of delectable adventures with food along with mouthwatering photography. I don't think I'll ever get enough of it.

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