PDX Women Chefs & Restaurateurs

The 10th Annual Farmer-Chef Connection by triciab
February 23, 2010, 9:47 pm
Filed under: Events, Professional Development | Tags: , ,

This year is the 10th annual Farmer-Chef Connection for the Portland area, hosted by the Portland Chefs Collaborative, a group of sustainability-minded Portland chefs. This also marks the 2nd year for Friends of Family Farmers to be a sponsor, and now a co-host.

The design for this day is to get area farmers, ranchers, processors, chefs, food buyers, students, and local food system activists together in the same room to build relationships, and to provide workshops to share tools to make these business relationships easier and more beneficial for everyone involved. Please spread the word to anyone that you think can benefit from this event.

One of the highlights of each FCC is the amazing lunch made up of donated product from local farms and ranchers, and cooked by some of the best chefs in the area! A real bargain for the $20 event registration fee. Please indicate on the registration form if you would like to help cook, donate food, or donate a raffle prize.

When: Monday, March 8th, 8am-3:15pm
Where: Clackamas Community College in Oregon City

Details and directions are on the PCC website at portlandcc.org.

Additional sponsors include: New Seasons, FoodHub, CCC Horticulture Department, Cascade Pacific, and the many volunteers and attendees who donate product and time to make this a wonderful day.

Keynote Speaker: Nicholette Hahn-Niman, author of Righteous Porkchop
Author Nicolette Hahn Niman is an author, attorney, livestock rancher, and until recently, sat on the Board of Overseers for the National Chefs Collaborative. Her book, Righteous Porkchop, details her experiences working first with Bobby Kennedy and the Waterkeepers Alliance investigating industrialized hog farms in North Carolina. More information about the author and the book can be found on her web page at www.righteousporkchop.com.

There will be some amazing raffle prizes from local food vendors – check out the list of prizes so far.

Event workshops:

  • Farmer-Chef Connections 101
  • Farmer-Chef Connections 401 (Advanced)
  • Licensing Your Food Product in Oregon
  • Getting Products to Market/Farmers Market Intro
  • Small Scale Livestock – Buying Local and Pasture Raised
  • Introduction to Food Hub
  • The Grains and Beans Project

Sign up now to save your place: CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Hope to see you there!


January Workshop: Intellectual Property in the Food Industry by triciab
January 19, 2010, 7:09 pm
Filed under: Events | Tags:

Have you ever wondered if you borrowed or reprinted a recipe that you would be stealing? Do you publish recipes on a blog or give them to friends? Have you found a menu item at another restaurant or posted online that looked like an original you created?

The upcoming meeting this Sunday is a workshop focused on intellectual property in the food industry. We’ll learn about the basics, when to use non-compete agreements, the pros and cons of giving away your intellectual property and how to go about effectively publishing recipes in print or on the web.

Many of you emailed to say that you are excited about this topic, and it’s shaping up to be a lively discussion!

Not sure you need the workshop?

If you know all there is to know about intellectual property and how it relates to the food world, then come for the networking. The meetings are a great place to meet others interested in food – we’ve had attendees in the past who are writers, PR consultants, architects, and photographers.

It’s a potluck

The format will be a potluck – we’ll eat at the beginning while networking and then listen to a few speakers with a discussion at the end. Please bring a dish for about 6-8 people.

Details and RSVP

  • Date: Sunday, January 24th
  • Time: 5-7PM
  • Location: 2746 SE 37th Avenue (Clinton neighborhood)
  • RSVP by commenting on this post below.

Hope to see you all there!

It was all about you. by Amanda
April 1, 2009, 7:11 am
Filed under: Events, Professional Development

“Networking” is often used to describe this group. But when you move beyond the handshakes and exchange of credentials and business cards, what really matters are personal stories. Maybe it’s because there’s always a story behind the foods we love to eat, or the cuisines we decide to master. Family tradition, foreign travel, childhood fixation, self-emancipation — no dish is simply a sum of its ingredients. And one of the most rewarding aspects of last night was hearing people share what made them who they are today.

By lucky accident I facilitated the session on personal bios. I can’t but wonder why so many of us (myself included) struggle to describe who we are and proudly put our achievements out there. Perhaps it’s because our interests and skills are too complex to boil down into a few paragraphs.  Or because historically, women are raised to be “good girls” which includes not bragging. Maybe our passions create a blind spot because we’re inseparable from that which drives us to create.

Fortunately, with some brainstorming, gentle coaching, and instructive examples provided by Lizzy Caston (which you can download at the end of this post), most everyone was able to capture some bio ideas on paper that will get put to good use in a web site, blog, resume or press kit.

Here are some key takeaways from that discussion:

  • Even if you don’t have a current business need for a bio, creating one is an exercise in focus and expression that enables you to clearly articulate what you have to offer and what sets you apart. Cover letters, informational interviews, cocktail party conversation — you never know what leads to your personal pot of gold. Create a bio so you’re know what to say when the opportunity of a lifetime lands in your lap. And because many people in the food business do end up starting their own businesses, you’ll be that much farther ahead of the game when you’re ready to do so.
  • Ask someone who knows you really well to tell you why you’re so great. Seriously. We do a lousy job holding up mirror to ourselves so let our biggest fans — be they family, a friend, a co-worker or significant other — point out the strengths we didn’t realize we had.
  • Treat the bio writing process like you’re doing a performance appraisal on yourself. What have you accomplished this past year? So much time gets diverted into so many different directions we don’t realize that, cumulatively, that volunteering or seemingly small projects all add up to something worth crowing about.
  • Different aspects of our bios expand and contract based on the experience we accumulate. So, out of school, we tend to go deep into our educational background. As our careers progress, it’s totally fine to discard aspects of our experience that don’t apply anymore, or to severely scale back certain details. Don’t try to say it all; focus on what’s important and relevant.
  • What if your background includes a radical departure or shift from what you used to do? Use it if it’s relevant to who you are now. If your anthropology degree inspires and informs your baking, explain why. If you’re much happier doing something that has nothing to do with your MBA, talk about the wake-up call. People — customers — connect with stories, not resumes.
  • Produce long and short versions of your bio for different purposes. Who are you in 50 words? 100? 250? Having these for different circumstances will help prevent someone else butchering your bio into something unintelligible.

Since I facilitated the bios all evening, I don’t have notes from the other roundtables. Lizzy ran the discussion about developing a communications timeline, and Julia Wood of Litmus Design & Architecture led the discussion about developing a company description. However, the attached documents from Lizzy provide step-by-step guidelines along with handy templates for tackling all of last night’s exercises.

Many thanks to Amanda Oborne for hosting everyone in her lovely home last night. There was plenty of room to spread out and the buffalo burgers were awesome!

Next meeting topic: Social Media for your Business

In about six weeks (mid-May), we’re going to have a full-blown session on social media. In January everyone learned, from a public relations perspective, how much buzz  can be generated with a personal blog. And there have been numerous questions about how to optimally use Twitter and Facebook to promote your business. With Portland being the Silicon Forest, we have a number of local experts to tap in to for this next session. It will be an ambitious agenda that includes a ground-level tutorial on “What is Twitter?” for the uninitiated.

As soon as we set a date and location, I’ll send post an update here.

What’s in a name?

Lastly, I want to point out we’re going to rename this group. Originally we had aspirations to be the regional chapter of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, but we’re more of a grassroots organization that embraces people from outside that strict definition of membership. So while we don’t have the final answer, don’t be surprised when you see an email that doesn’t say “PDX WCR” (perhaps the most awkward combination of letters possible).

Download files from last night’s meeting

Communications Templates_Revised

Sample Communications Timeline

Communications Templates

RSVP for Fall Potluck, 11/17 at UPDATED LOCATION by Amanda
October 18, 2008, 12:47 am
Filed under: Events | Tags: , ,


Since we have a group of ~20 people for the potluck, instead of doing this at North Star, let’s do it at my house:

  • NEW LOCATION: 2443 NE 11th Ave., on the SW corner of 11th & Brazee. It’s in the Irvington neighborhood, about 5 blocks off of NE Broadway.
  • Monday, Nov. 17, 2008
  • 5:30-6 PM: check-in & food drop-off
  • 6-8 PM: potluck, networking, storytelling and planning for ’09
  • RSVP by Friday, Nov. 14 here

A huge thanks to Anja Spence (a.k.a. Mizz Zumstein) for taking the initiative to help us find a location, and to Jane at North Star for her willingness to donate the space. We’ll take advantage of North Star another time.

What’s Your Niche Dish?

At last month’s networking event, someone suggested this potluck be all about preparing your specialties. So plan to bring something that signifies your personal food passion.

Due to the anticipated volume of attendees, we’re only asking that you cook enough to serve 5-10 people so you don’t burden yourself, and we don’t end up with too much food.

We’ll Feed the Body and the Mind

Last month’s attendees said they wanted the potluck to include time for personal stories so everyone can get to know each other better.  This is admittedly a loose concept right now, more details to come. (Don’t be scared off, we won’t force anyone unwilling to get up and talk. But we will be recruiting volunteer storytellers.)

Also, as the business part of the evening’s program, we’ll lay the groundwork for a panel discussion in January about tactics for operating your restaurant in a down economy.

Spread the Word!

We need to reach more women food professionals! Don’t think “chefs and restaurant owners” only. WCR embraces all types of female food professionals — culinary students, food product entrepreneurs, cookbook writers, teachers, caterers, and professionals who specialize in supporting the restaurant industry. Please send this event link to your friends and colleagues. And/or download this simple flier and hand it out to your favorite “mom” at the mom-and-pop joints you frequent.

Help with Logistics

PDX WCR volunteers Lizzy Caston and Tricia Butler are donating some paper and flatware goods. We’re also in the process of securing wine donations. If you have something to donate/contribute from a logistics standpoint for this event, or could help with post-potluck clean up, please mention it in the comments section when you RSVP. We have no budget, and are relying on everyone’s goodwill.


Please use this form to say “yay” or “nay” to the potluck.

Can’t make it? Use the link to add yourself to the database if you haven’t already. That way, we can stay in touch for future events.

See you there!

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.

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.