Meet Tricia, the President of our Portland, OR Chapter. Read on to learn about the Portland sustainable restaurant scene and their exciting annual event coming up in March!

What is your role in the Portland Chapter of Chefs Collaborative?

I help the Portland Chapter with marketing, sponsorships, outreach, event planning, and recruiting. We tend to focus most of our efforts on the annual Farmer Chef Connection in March, and then maybe one or two smaller events during the year. I also represented the local chapter at the National Summit in New Orleans this year, which was an amazing experience.

The Chapter has an exciting event coming up – could you tell us more about it?

Sure. The Portland Farmer Chef Connection is on Monday, March 5th at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City. We expect to have over 300 producers and chefs come together for networking, learning, and great food.

Our keynote speaker this year is Sam Morgannam, founder of Bi-Rite in San Francisco and author of the new book Eat Good Food. I have heard that Sam is quite an inspiring speaker and we look forward to having him in Portland.

Some of the sessions this year include:

-Heritage Breeds Panel and Tasting

-Fermentation Demonstration

-Direct Sourcing Success Stories

-Localizing the Pantry

What are some of the the major issues Portland chefs are concerned with today?

I would say two challenging issues facing chefs in Portland and elsewhere is sourcing sustainable ingredients at a reasonable cost and informing customers of the value of those ingredients. It can be difficult to compete with lower cost options if customers do not understand why sustainably produced ingredients cost more than traditional ingredients.

That being said, we have an amazing food community here, from chefs to producers to passionate local food supporters. We have accomplished many things that the rest of the country is still striving towards – one example is that the city offers both home and business food composting services. Because of these achievements, another challenge is always figuring out how to push the envelope even more.

What’s your favorite Portland-area restaurant?

This is a trick question. There are too many to pick just one! My latest favorite is a great ramen place called Wafu. Otherwise, I rotate between my stand-bys… St. Jack, Tasty and Sons, Le Pigeon, Pok Pok, Higgins, and Paley’s Place.

Why did you choose to get involved with Chefs Collaborative?

I decided to get involved with Chefs Collaborative to help promote the importance of sustainability in our food system. I learned early in life that every decision we make can have a big impact, especially when purchasing food, and I wanted to be part of providing a forum for chefs to connect with sustainable producers. I am a big believer that we can make the world a dramatically better place just by making educated decisions around our food purchasing habits, whether it be in business or in our personal lives.

We couldn’t agree more!

To learn more about the Portland Chapter & the 2012 Farmer Chef Connection, check out their website here.