After four food-filled days with Feast Portland and its after-events, I give the event a five-star rating. They knocked it out of the park in their first at-bat. The festival had everything a foodie could want.
- Celebrity chefs from around the world. Check. I partook of the Inaki Aizpitarte (Paris – Le Chateaubriand) and Daniel Patterson (San Francisco – Coi) dinner on Thursday night, enjoyed bites at the Night Market from Eddie Huang, Paul Qui, Anita Lo, Duff Goldman and dozen more, and luxuriated in the Saturday night dinner by Matthew Lightner (formerly of our own Castagna, now in NYC with Atera) and Sean Brock (Charleston SC – McCrady’s, Husk), followed by a spectacular after-event dinner with Andy Ricker of Pok Pok and David Thompson (London nahm).
- Showcasing local chefs: The Night Market, Oregon Bounty and dinners often paired our spectacular local chefs with the imported celebs. It is debatable which were the biggest draw.
- Showcasing Oregon products: the visiting chefs lauded our great produce, meat and seafood. Some sourced their products for the showcase dinner at the Portland Farmer’s Market before finalizing the menu. The events featured our excellent local wines, beer, spirits, chocolate and Jacobsen sea salt. You never went thirsty.
- Well-run events: As an event coordinator myself, and having sworn off tasting events due to crowding and lines, I was extremely impressed with how well-managed the tasting events were at Feast Portland. The Night Market got a little crowded, but you were always able to move and never waited in line more than a minute or two to get a bite. Another plus was that there was seating available for those who wanted to get off their feet, and access to restrooms other than portajohns. This was repeated at the Oregon Bounty tastings in Pioneer Square. It was not overcrowded and there was plenty of seating on the steps, with great views of the stage where the noted chefs did demonstrations and artisans spoke about their products. It also didn’t devolve into a taste-and-run as new dishes were prepared every 90 minutes, giving you an excuse to linger and enjoy the wine, beer, and demonstrations.
- Prices: I have paid more for dinners at Vegas Uncorked and other food events. The Oregon Bounty and the Night Market were premium-priced, but I think I got appropriate value for my admission fee.
- Bottom Line: I’ll be back. This was a great event. If I didn’t already live here, I would travel to it.