The Emmy-nominated PBS series Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking was in town yesterday to shed (another) spotlight on Portland’s food scene, in particular chefs Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon) and Greg Denton (Ox) as they spent the day sourcing ingredients and cooking a feast for friends and family. For Rucker, a natural when it comes to performing for the warped reality that is TV, part of the appeal of doing the show was to “get my suppliers some national exposure.” Hence, a visit to Viridian Farms at the farmer’s market for produce and Nicky USA for the meat cuts, while the event was hosted by SE Wine Collective.
This isn’t one of those cutthroat shows where the chefs are gladiators looking to carve up their opponents as much as the chicken—no gastronomic Alis here crying “I’m the greatest.” The menu was worked out between the two chefs and, as Denton explained, “with some role reversal, as Gabe wanted to be involved with the grill and I wanted to work with vegetables."
The show’s Aussie host (affable, tanned, charismatic), Pete Evans, also gave the city a big high five: “Portland’s food can stand on its own two feet on the world stage. The chefs here are confident doing their own thing, but without all the fuss and fanfare.” Which is maybe the point: one of the nice things about chefs in Portland is they (generally) don’t have world-dominating egos. They are grateful to their suppliers and their interest lies in creating good food. That warm, fuzzy emotion? No, you’re not drunk, that’s a feeling of pride for our city. The ‘Portland is Great’ episode of Movable Feast premieres this fall.
Bonus! After the jump: Gabriel Rucker reveals his kitchen secret.
During taping, Rucker revealed that his favorite knife, and the one he was using on the show, is not some $200 handmade blade from an artisan Japanese workshop, but a $3.99 Kiwi knife available from Fubonn—yes, the Asian supermarket on SE 82nd. For $3.99. Though he says you’ll need to put a sharp edge on it, Rucker swears by them.