by Angus An | Portland’s emergence as a food city was on my radar a few years ago so I drove down for the weekend with the sole purpose of checking out the city’s restaurants. I quickly realized that a couple of days wasn’t nearly enough to experience all that Portland had to offer, so when I was approached to be a part of Chef’s Week PDX, I jumped at the opportunity.
Organized by Portland chef Gregory Gourdet of Departure, Chef’s Week PDX was created to bring West Coast chefs together to cook and explore all that this beautiful part of the world has to offer.
Day 1 | After arriving in Portland, I dropped my mise-en-place in a fridge to find that the good people at Chef’s Week PDX had already stocked it with Oregon goodies like Stumptown Coffee, Jacobsen sea salt, wines from Kings Ridge, King Estate, and Underwood, plus a beer from Ninkasi Brewing.
After settling in, I hopped into a cab and headed to the first Chef’s Week dinner location, hotspot Ava Gene’s, to meet chef Joshua McFadden. Joshua and I were tasked with creating a course for Thursday’s dinner. We decided to make Koh Soi, a simple Northern-style chicken curry noodle dish from Thailand with minced cured meats for umami, anchovies, and fresh linguini instead of egg wonton noodles.
Joshua then convinced me to sit at the kitchen by the wood-fired grill while he cooked for me. Dinner started with a charcuterie platter and olives, Ava Gene’s “3 board” (3 unique salads served on one board), squid ink linguini with Dungeness crab, ricotta cavatelli with lamb neck ragu, ravioli tricolore with nut crumbs and brown butter, grilled lamb chops, and finally, peanut gelato.
Day 2 | Day two started with a butchery demo. Chef Matt Christianson of Urban Farmer brought in two cows (1800lbs total weight) for us to break down: one was a 100% pure-blood Wagyu from Pacific Rogue and the other was from Laney Family Farm. In the process, I managed to get the tenderloin I needed for a tartare dish, which I had planned for Sunday.
After a quick tour of Urban Farmer and their dry aging program, I found my way through a snowstorm to Ava Gene’s for that night’s Hearth and Turf Dinner, a collaborative effort between six chefs: Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene’s), Jason French (Ned Ludd), Matt Christianson (Urban Farmer), Chris Starkus (Urban Farmer), Gregory Gourdet (Departure) and myself. Chef McFadden’s and my dish, the Koh Soi chicken, combined Ava Gene’s Italian-inspired menu (with pasta) and my Thai influence (seen in the use of curry and spice). The end result was fantastic and a good showcase of both of our philosophies.
After dinner we celebrated at Roman Candle Café, where we found out that due to a snowstorm our trip to the Oregon Coast the next day was cancelled.
Day 3 | My fellow Vancouver chef-compatriot, Joël Watanabe of Bao Bei, had arrived the night before. We met up with the other chefs for Plan B: a group lunch at Produce Row. After lunch, Joël needed to prep for his dinner (entitled Present Culture at Paley’s Place) with chef Patrick McKee (Paley’s Place, Portland), Rachel Yang (Revel, Joule, Seattle), Jose Chesa (Ataula, Portland), Jeff McCarthy (TenTop, Portland).
Later that day, chef Jason French kindly offered to pick me up to have dinner at his restaurant, Ned Ludd, an American Craft Kitchen with nothing but a wood-fired oven for cooking. I naturally took him up on the offer.
The food was true, honest craft food, which I really enjoyed. The décor was also amazing; every piece was chosen by the chef himself while browsing antique fairs. After a cozy and comforting meal, we moved on to another dinner at St. Jack. It was here that I met chef Aaron Barnett, a Canadian who had spent time in the kitchen at Vancouver’s Lumiére. Like many other chefs here, he fell in love with the energy and culture of Portland and decided to set up shop.
Day 4 | Today we toured Nicky USA, a specialty butcher/purveyor and experienced firsthand the passion the local suppliers share with the chefs. One of the products that owner Geoff Latham is most proud of is rabbit, which Joël and I both wish we could use more often in Vancouver (sourced locally).
After the tour, we headed to Woodblock Chocolates and met with Charley Wheelock, the owner and chocolate maker. He explained the process of bean fermenting, purchasing, on-site roasting, shelling (in home-made machinery—with racing stripes!), grinding and then tasting of cocoa from different regions. He is working on a 100% bar, and he let us taste the trial batch, as well as some of his chocolate beer. That night chef Vitaly Paley invited us for a fabulous dinner at his other restaurant, Imperial, at the Hotel Lucia. I lost count of how many fantastic dishes we had.
Day 5 | The final day of Chef’s Week PDX was a 20-course dinner cooked by all of the participating chefs. It was certainly interesting to see all the different styles and flavours come together into one dinner…
Chips and Dip
Pinxto of Octopus, Smoked Potato Foam, Blackened Garlic
Ajo Blanco, Potxa Beans, Salsify, Razor Clam Jus, Sturgeon Caviar, Yuzu Mousse
Bigeye Tuna Crudo, Oregon Black Truffle, Young Coconut, Ginger, Frog Eyes Wasabi,
Arancini, Squid Ink, Nduja
Northern Thai Style Beef Tartare, Egg Yolk Puree, Pork Crackling
Shan Tofu, Charred Carrots, Preserved Bean &Almond Sauce, Dashi, Mustard Leaf
Sea Scallop, Celery Root-Saffron Panna Cotta, Citrus Salad, Phytoplankton
Dungeness Crab & Leek Tempura, Oyster Sauce, Steelhead Roe
Dungenous Chili Crab, Black Garlic, Meyer Lemon
Roasted Cod, Hazelnut-Coriander Emulsion, Cucumber, Shitake, Bergamot, Dill
Erik Van Kley
Clams, Sweet Clam Gnocci, Clam Butter, Smoked Mackerel, Egg Yolk, Pea Greens
Sturgeon, Prosciutto, Carrot, Almond, Cedar
Rabbit, Lobster, Squid Ink, Green Apple
Greg & Gabi Denton
Fried Oxtail Terrine, Spicy Shrimp Head Aioli, Pickled Shiitake, Cara Cara Orange, Cipollini
Braised Kurabuta Pork Belly, Parnip-Potato Puree, Crispy Pig Ear Salad
Brian McCracken and Dana Tough
Slow Cooked Beef Culotte, Sunchoke, Celery, Grapefruit, Black Truffle
Oregon Water Buffalo Ribeye, Cedar Smoked Ricotta, Toasted Spice & Citrus Demi
Milk Chocolate Baguette Bark, Caramelized Honey Mousse, Warm Egg Yolk, Cranberries
Woodblock Chocolate Cremeux, Yuzu Gelee, Chocolate Soil
After the event everyone was summoned to the member’s-only Multnomah Whiskey Library to wrap up the night. During the after-party, food writer Krista Simmons asked me to sum up the event in one word. My reply: “Pride”. Chef’s Week PDX is a collection of West Coast chefs showing pride in their region and their respective cities, especially Portland. It really was a fantastic week, and I can’t wait for next year!
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | Take your taste buds to Thailand this New Year’s Eve with Maenam’s exclusive four-course dinner. Inspired by the flavours of Southeastern Asia, Chef Angus An’s celebratory menu features a selection of original creations alongside classic Maenam favourites. Ideal for sharing, guests can expect dishes that showcase a range of traditional Thai flavours, covering the spectrum of hot, sour, salty and sweet. Guests are given the option of rounding out their NYE celebrations with exotic cocktails and perfect wine pairings. Maenam’s four-course New Year’s Eve Chef’s Menu is priced at $60 per person. A vegetarian menu is also available. As space is limited, guests are encouraged to reserve early by phoning 604-730-5579. Get a look at the complete menu after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | Maenam restaurant teams up with sake expert Mariko Tajiri for a one-night-only sake tasting menu. On October 30, guests join chef Angus An and Mariko Tajiri from That’s Life Gourmet importers for an intimate dinner celebrating superior sakes. Ranging from clear and crisp to smooth and floral, the Japanese rice wines are paired with seven courses of Maenam’s award-winning and palate-pleasing Thai cuisine. Guests are invited to ask questions, sip and be inspired by the spirit of sake. Tickets are $100 per guest, including tax and tip. Only 35 seats are available, so interested parties are encouraged to reserve early. Get all the details and take a look at the menu after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | On July 8th 2013, Chef Angus An invites you to join him for a one night re-creation of the successful James Beard dinner recently staged in New York. A limited number of guests will enjoy this 11-course custom menu accompanied by select wine pairings by sommelier Kurtis Kolt.
The James Beard Foundation extends coveted invitations to chefs that demonstrate a wealth of culinary expertise, innovation and talent. In April 2013, Chef An was selected by the foundation for his world class Thai cuisine, which he prepares at Vancouver’s Maenam and New York’s Kittichai, placing him among an exclusive group of the world’s top chefs.
“Cooking at the James Beard Foundation was an incredible honour,” says Chef An. “I’m thrilled to cook this menu in Maenam’s kitchen and share it with fellow Vancouverites.” The menu stays true to Chef An’s masterful technique and features authentic Thai dishes using pristine local ingredients. Guests can expect to taste everything from Crispy Egg Net Roll of Lobsters to Braised Pork Cheeks with a spiced palm sugar braise, steamed buns and truffle powder. Details and menu after the jump… Read more
by Kurtis Kolt | Just sending a quick note to share that Maenam’s Chef Angus An and I are in New York City and in the home stretch of prepping for his dinner at James Beard House this evening. As a little refresher, Angus has been the consulting chef in New York at Kittichai in the Thompson Hotel for the last little while, so he’s officially wearing two hats tonight as he presents contemporary Thai dishes out of both New York and Vancouver. As the lucky guy who consults on the wine list at Maenam, I got to come along for the ride; designing tonight’s wine program and overseeing wine service!
Angus was invited to cook at James Beard House many months ago, and much of the coordination has come out of Vancouver. I got to dive into a whole new realm of liquor laws to adhere to, and track down various wines from suppliers I have no experience with. The good folks from the Okanagan’s Tantalus Winery did us a solid by doing a good ol’ fashioned border run of their kick-ass 2010 Riesling a few weeks back. I’m quite excited and proud to represent BC wine country tonight, with a little Mission Hill in the mix as well!
Angus and his team – many of whom are from Vancouver – are hustlin’ away doing prep as I type this, and they’re pretty stoked. I will indeed rock out a full report for you on our New York adventures later in the week, loaded with pictures and good cheer. In the meantime, I will be Tweeting and Instagramming (both @KurtisKolt) tonight using the hashtag #AAJBwKK.
Do follow along as we represent!
by Andrew Morrison | Chef/restaurateur Angus An of Kitsilano’s multiple award-winning Maenam restaurant is opening a new counter-service eatery called Longtail Kitchen in New Westminster’s popular River Market. An, you might recall, trained at New York’s French Culinary Institute and worked in such famed kitchens as Jo-Jo, The Ledbury, The Fat Duck, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Nahm before opening Maenam in 2009. He’s one of Vancouver’s top culinary stars. His new joint is named after Thailand’s ubiquitous, iconic, and often turbo-charged “longtail” water taxis) — a cool name that fits that address’ Fraser River waterfront location and Thai theme.
The lease was just signed this week, but it’s been in the works for many months. And it’s no wonder. Between shuttling to and from New York City where An consults at the famed Kittichai restaurant, overseeing the perennially busy Maenam, and raising a young family, An is a busy guy. You’d think opening another establishment would seem a daunting, overly complicated prospect, but he shrugs the notion off. “I wouldn’t have done this if it didn’t feel right for me,” he says. “It’s a fine balance, but I can do it comfortably.”
The 25 seat, 880 sqft Longtail will focus on sea-centric Thai street food. “Quick and easy Thai fisherman comfort food”, is how An likens it, adding that there “will be noodle dishes, fish stews and fish curries, with price points ranging from $8 to $12.” Sadly, there will be no liquor license to start off with, but the application is under way. They’ll also be trying for a sectioned-off patio (which would work beautifully with garage door frontage), but if you’ve ever been to the River Market, you already know how easy it is to take your meal outside and sit just about anywhere (the gull population mercifully appears to be about 1/50th that of Granville Island market).
Longtail is being designed as a multi-functional space. By day it will concentrate on regular service with a retail component (selling An’s signature curry sauces, spices, cookbooks, etc.) and then at night it will host cooking classes, private functions and special chef-collaborative suppers. “I’m a longtime fan of Angus’ cooking,” says Mark Shieh, the River Market’s Director. “He and I have talked a lot about the future of restaurants. One of our goals at the Market is to reconnect with food in a meaningful and playful way. Angus’ imagining of a restaurant as a multifunctional seaside kitchen is a great fit with our Food 360 approach.”
Longtail Kitchen is another big “get” for River Market (already home to Wild Rice, Re-Up, Wally’s Burger, La Grotto del Formaggio, among other food fetishist faves). Opening day is scheduled for early May, 2013.
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | A Vancouver favourite of the New York Times, Maenam restaurant brightens New Year’s Eve with Chef Angus An’s signature Thai flair. Rich with flavour and spice, the one-night-only menu features four family-style courses ideal for sharing with fellow celebrants. Of course, the evening wouldn’t be complete without a toast to ring in 2013; Thai-inspired cocktails and optional wine pairings inspire raised glasses for an elegant finale to the year. Full menu after the jump… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | Maenam chef/owner Angus An has taken a job in New York City. Before you freak out and decry an eastern conspiracy to drain us of our top culinary talents, let me first just say that it’s not a full-time gig. An is now the executive chef/consultant at the famed Thai restaurant Kittichai in the swanky 60 Thompson Hotel. He has agreed to make 8 to 10 trips this year, with each sojourn being a week to 10 days in duration. An says the Soho restaurant has a very capable chef de cuisine, and that he was brought on board to develop a new menu and help with its roll-out and maintenance. He’s doing French technique with modern Thai flavours for a NYC customer base (think Gastropod meets Maenam, only a little more sophisticated). The room has been known to pull in 300 covers a night on weekends, so it’s volume, volume, volume. A challenge, to be sure.
So how did this come about? Maenam has always gotten a lot of attention from visiting international reporters and has seen consistent action in New York especially, from The New York Times and New York Magazine (among others). It’s hard to think of the mild-mannered An as a star, but I suppose that’s what he is. Anyway, a headhunter contacted him a year ago about moving to Kittichai full-time, but with a successful restaurant in Kits and a young family to look after, it wasn’t something that he could do. Thank goodness for that. The headhunter was persistent, however, and they eventually arrived at the above accord, which keeps him in Vancouver enough to ensure that life at Maenam (and in his home) continues relatively as is.
Will Maenam suffer? It’s not very likely. Its Thai cred/game is in the capable hands of chef de cuisine Mike Tuangkitkun, who has been at the West 4th award-winner for a few years now (Sean McGuire is his sous chef). What’s more, An’s wife Kate is staying put, the service team is all good, and Kurtis Kolt is consulting on the wine list. It still kind of sucks, though. A few months ago I wrote a story about An and Maenam for the paper saying that we needed him to do a cookbook, a street food cart, and a French restaurant (not necessarily in that order), so it looks like none of those desires are going to be met, at least not for a while. Oh well. Our congratulations to Angus. May he break a leg, and teach them Yankees a thing or three.
Take a look inside Kittichai after the leap… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | In a recent feature on the award-winning Maenam on West 4th, my newspaper ran with a shot of chef/owner Angus An preparing some food. It was the right one to use, as my story was more about the chef and his restaurant’s greater value than the individual dishes he so deftly pumps out 7 nights a week. Still, who doesn’t like good food porn? From top left/clockwise: hot and sour soup with fried chillies and thai basil; freshly baked roti; Pad Thai; aromatic curry of oven roasted Maple Hill Farm chicken; Maenam’s interior; chicken satays with housemade peanut sauce and sweet cucumber relish; crispy lingcod served in a caramelized tamarind and palm sugar sauce and topped with 8 different types of fried herbs and spices; Nahm Manao cocktail. #nomnom.
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | The playoffs are here and Kitsilano’s Maenam restaurant wants to help you cheer on the Canucks at home with free game day Thai chicken wings. Takeout orders of $30 or more on Canuck game days will include a complimentary order of Chef Angus An’s signature Thai chicken wings seasoned with chilli salt and accompanied with authentic nahm jim dipping sauce. To score your free Thai chicken wings, all you have to do is follow Maenam on Twitter @maenam, or “like” Maenam on Facebook. For each Canuck’s game, a special code word will be released on Maenam’s Twitter and Facebook pages at noon. Simply use this code when you order takeout of $30 or more and the wings will be on the house. Read more
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | Venture to Thailand this New Year’s Eve with a four-course menu of Maenam favourites for $55 per person. Chef Angus An will be offering NYE revellers specialty Thai dishes influenced by the best of Southeast Asia. Guests can expect traditional flavours covering the gamut of hot, sour, salty and sweet, with the option of celebratory savvy pairings and pours of grower champagne from sommelier Brooke Delves. Get the menu and details after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | Join chef Angus An and sommelier Brooke Delves on Tuesday, September 27th for a multi-vintage showcase of Schloss Reinhartshausen rieslings and pinot noirs paired with five courses of fresh Thai flavours. Set in Maenam’s intimate dining room, guests are encouraged to reserve tickets early for this single seating event. Dinner begins at 6:30pm and tickets are $75.00/person excluding taxes and gratuity. Details and menu after the jump… Read more
The main objective of this website is to scout out and promote the things that make Vancouver such a sweet place to be. We do this with an emphasis on the city’s independent spirit to foster a sense of connectedness within and between our communities, and to introduce our readers to the people who grow and cook our food, play the raddest tunes in our better venues, create our most interesting art, and design everything from what we wear to the spaces we inhabit.
The Scout List is our carefully considered, first rate agenda of super awesome things that we’re either doing, wishing that we could do, or conspiring to do this week. From our calendar to yours… Read more