PDX Women Chefs & Restaurateurs


Say “no” to green potatoes by Amanda
September 30, 2008, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Events

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT mistake their gracious warmth and lack of pretense for docility. Portland’s women chefs and restaurateurs are bold and unyielding when it comes pursuit of a life that honors their passion for food. They’re defining success on their own terms, distinctly and conscientiously rooted in Oregon’s bounty and sustainable values. This sisterhood wants to raise flavor and social consciousness.

A diverse group of nearly 30 women attended last night’s PDX WCR kickoff event. Ann Forsthoefel, the new executive director of the Portland Farmers Market, talked candidly and compellingly about the lessons she learned as a chef and restaurant owner, farmer and agricultural entrepreneur. Her story sparked lively discussions about risk-taking, leadership, the importance of community and personal authenticity. Notably, it led Allison Bader of In Good Taste to share a story that kept resonating, about a vendor who delivered produce that wasn’t up to snuff . “Women are expected to make do, to say, ‘OK, I’ll take the green potatoes,'” observed Bader. “We’ve got to start saying ‘no’ to the green potatoes!”

There was a warm welcome for Marcia Hara, the regional WCR coordinator who is based in Salem. Marcia’s referenced her eight years with WCR to help set the context for the purpose of PDX WCR. The many ways Portland can show itself off for the 2009 WCR conference will definitely require a meeting all its own.

What’s next? How about what could be the most amazing culinary potluck? Everyone gave a hearty “yes” to such a meeting in November, featuring each person’s “niche” dish and some personal storytelling to establish and strengthen relationships.

The group also agreed that spreading the word about PDX WCR is critical, with special outreach efforts to the chef-owned restaurants in the ethnic communities. Getting more women involved depends on word-of-mouth and viral efforts, so please keep telling your friends and colleagues to check this site out.

A subcommittee of volunteers is meeting over the next two weeks to determine the details of the November and January meetings, which will be posted as soon as they are confirmed. There’s also a laundry list of topics and resources to flesh out for future educational sessions, with an eye toward a workshop in January.

For the curious, here is an almost complete list of last night’s attendees (not all drop-ins were noted):

  • Alma Chocolate: Sarah Hart
  • clarklewis: Alissa Rozos
  • Confection Art: Peggy Alter
  • Culinate: Sarah Gilbert
  • Edible Skylines: Erin Altz
  • Illahe Hills Country Club/Salem WCR: Marcia Hara
  • In Good Taste: Allison Bader, Amelia Hard, Cheryl Russell
  • Lad Communications: Lisa Donoughe
  • Lizzy Caston Communications: Lizzy Caston
  • Miss Zumstein: Anja Spence
  • The Nines/Urban Farmer: Susan Soto
  • Litmus Design + Architecture: Julia Wood
  • Nostrana: Kelly Myers, Kathryn Yeomans
  • Pizza Fino & Bella Faccia: Linda Zumoff
  • Portland Farmers Market: Ann Forsthoefel
  • Random Order Coffee: Tracy Olson
  • Rocket: Stacey Givens
  • Sahagun Chocolates: Elizabeth Montes
  • Sassafrass Catering: Tricia Butler
  • Savor It: Jennifer Fields
  • Savor Portland: Nancy Ettinger
  • South Park: Karin Devencenzi
  • The Sugar Cube: Kir Jensen
  • Veritable Quandary: Annie Cuggino, Heather Kintler

Keep checking back for information and please don’t be shy with posting your suggestions and comments. And sign up here and be added to the database.

Lastly… remember to say “no” to the green potatoes in your life.

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Portland to host ’09 WCR Conference by Amanda
September 24, 2008, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Events

This just in… we’re the host city for next year’s national WCR conference! Which makes the formation of the PDX chapter all the more exciting.

New Orleans hosted this year’s conference just last week. Take a peek at the agenda and imagine what’s possible with Portland as the host city.

UPDATE: The conference will be here November ’09. Usually starts on a Saturday with tours, then sessions Sunday and Monday.



Need a coach? Get on the phone! by Amanda
September 18, 2008, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Events, Professional Development

“Communication can be tricky. We think we are saying one thing and our foodservice team is hearing something else. Mr. Gates knew the information, and expected us to think like he did… with all his years of experience. What he forgot was that teaching, leading, and managing is all about the audience.

A few years ago I met Kathy Gillen at a Womens Foodservice Forum conference. She was also a first-time attendee; we practically held hands and braved the sea of 2,000 women together.

Kathy’s got a unique niche as a business coach focused on foodservice executives. And as we stayed in touch over the years, I came to appreciate the value she offers via her free teleforums. It’s format that’s well-suited for those who are otherwise too busy or too bootstrapped financially to hire a coach or attend professional development conferences.

While the topics or examples may sometimes seem geared toward the larger companies, I think there are universal lessons here for everyone. Frustrations about not being heard, dicey political situations and communication breakdowns happen at all companies, at all levels.

Her next teleforum is about communication breakdowns. Ever have them? I thought so.

Read the Mr. Gates example here and sign up for the teleforum.



LOCATION: Meet upstairs at Ten 01 by Amanda
September 18, 2008, 1:51 am
Filed under: Events

No more sleepless nights fretting over event venues for me, thanks to the kind and generous Adam Berger of Ten 01 (who also happens to a be a wonderful repeat client).

He’s donating the venue, the drinks and hors d’ouerves for our PDX WCR meeting on Sept. 29. Be sure to thank him heartily the next time you see him.

Plus… we have one attendee who’s volunteered her restaurant for the next meeting.

And… our RSVP numbers as of today are nearing 20!

We’re off to great start!

(Have you RSVPed yet?)



Salem, Eugene too? Sure, why not! by Amanda
September 17, 2008, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Events

As I mentioned in my first post, there is one local chapter of WCR, based out of Salem. As that city’s WCR coordinator Marcia said in her email to me:

“Sometimes being in Salem is like being on the other end of the world.”

Typically, the WCR contacts a state’s coordinators so they can spread the word about regional events to the membership base. So I suspect there may be some lonely WCR members in Salem and Eugene looking to connect with their Portland sisters at the end of this month.



Our Guest of Honor: Ann Forsthoefel by Amanda
September 17, 2008, 8:03 pm
Filed under: Events

I’m excited to announce that the Portland Farmers Market’s new Executive Director, Ann Forsthoefel, will be our guest of honor at the September 29 PDX WCR event.

A former chef and restaurant owner with extensive agricultural business experience, Ann was recently appointed the new executive director of the Portland Farmers Market. Prior to joining PFM, Ann served a key role in the community as the director of agency relations for the Oregon Food Bank. In case you haven’t read it, the Oregonian wrote a nice profile of Ann a few weeks ago.

At the event, Ann has also agreed to share a few words of wisdom for our city’s talented women in foodservice. Be sure to come to the PDX WCR event to hear her speak and congratulate her in person.



10 Core Competencies for Women in Foodservice by Amanda

Take a look at what the Women’s Foodservice Forum has identified as core competencies to develop for business success:

  1. Initiative
  2. Strategic Thinking
  3. Building Networks
  4. Visioning/Setting Direction
  5. Developing Others
  6. Building High Performing Teams
  7. Driving For Results
  8. Risk-Taking
  9. Tough-Minded
  10. Communicating & Listening

(This PDF has more details about each one.)