I’m convinced that there is no worthier reason to surface on Monday morning with a food hangover than Feast Portland.
Now firmly established in its second year, Bon Appétit Presents Feast Portland is a veritable who’s who weekend of culinary genius. Chefs and producers from near and far land in arguably America’s greatest city for local, ingredient-driven food, coming together for four days and 40+ events (plus packed and coveted after-after events). Bites are washed down and paired up with local wine, craft beer and well-tooled cocktails, and revelers can partake in events ranging from lowbrow to high comfort.
The Widmer Brothers Brewing Sandwich Invitational kicked off Feast old school style, with every imaginable tasty fixins you can stick between two pieces of bread. Laurelhurst Restaurant’s smoked beef tongue sandwich with padron peppers killed it, taking first place amongst the judges. Saturday night’s High Comfort at The Nines took it to the other end of the spectrum, with numerous chefs like April Bloomfield of NYC’s The Spotted Pig, Seattle’s Tom Douglas, and David McMillan & Frédéric Morin of Montreal’s Joe Beef cooking glorious bites alongside beautiful bevvy offerings from Willamette’s Archery Summit, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte and Hendrick’s Gin, amongst hazy countless more. The Oregon Bounty Grand Tastings anchored the festival, allowing Feasters to wander, sip and snack al fresco at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Classes and tasting panels provided smart food for thought, while winemaker dinners throughout the city provided memorable evenings for discernible diners.
Feast Portland is committed to fighting hunger (obviously!) but not just to those partaking in the feastivities. Net proceeds from Feast are donated to two worthy charities that work to end hunger in Oregon and around the USA: Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. Fundraising and awareness-raising takes place throughout the year via chef appearances, panel discussions and community outreach programs. Feast chefs appear at school breakfast and assist with meal program planning events, offering tips and ideas on healthy cooking, cooking on a budget and how to keep kids interested in food.
It’s not just these community programs that raise awareness about food through Feast though. I’m sure everyone in attendance this past weekend was inspired in some way by what they put in their mouth. If we can all learn just one morsel more about food, how to raise, grow and tend to it, and how to make it healthy and delicious, then this celebration of Oregon bounty will be around for years to come.
Right now it feels like it will take at least a year until I get through this food hangover–though I’m already inexplicably hungry for more Feast Portland.