Last week we had a wonderful opportunity to travel to a fabulous food city and meet a multitude of people who are just as passionate about food as we are. This year Portland hosted the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professions) and Lava Lake Lamb joined the culinary event as a bronze level sponsor.

Our first event was the Host City Opening Reception. Alongside glasses of sustainable Oregon wine and craft brewed beer, dozens of Portland chefs were paired with Northwest producers to serve delightful small plates. We were fortunate enough to be paired with Lincoln, a new restaurant focused on the perfect preparation of simple ingredients, that is operated by chef-owner Jenn Louis and co-owner David Welch. Jenn served Malloreddus with lamb ragu and pecorino. Not that we are biased at all, but Jenn’s plate of food was a perfect bite of comfort Italian food and we think was the most delicious served at the reception.

David and Jenn

On Thursday, we had a chance to hear the marvelous Ruth Reichl speak on the demise of Gourmet, as well as hear a supremely entertaining interview between her and Kim Severson (“Ruth, how does it feel to be unemployed?”). We also learned more about James Beard through a panel discussion featuring Madhur Jaffrey and Judith Jones. After being inspired by these culinary giants, we knew we had to consume some good Portland food, so we couldn’t help but return to the hands of Jenn Louis and Lincoln. We were not disappointed.

Yeasted polenta and sage fritters with a lemon aioli and pecorino

We participated in the culinary expo held at the Oregon Convention Center on Friday afternoon. This was a great opportunity to talk to some really interesting people and tell the story of Lava Lake Lamb.

Cheryl at our booth

Following the expo, Cheryl went to the Robert Reynolds’ Chef’s Studio Dinner, co-hosted by Robert Reynolds and Judith Jones. The group of fourteen feasted on deep fried morels, cauliflower soup, noodles with radish greens, and strawberries in a honeysuckle eau de vie gel. We were then privileged to have Robert Reynolds prepare Lava Lake loin of lamb with currant sauce and share this food with Judith Jones – what an honor. The evening finished with savarin with meyer lemon and rhubarb compote, served with fromage blanc. All of the food was marvelous.

Our time in Portland was wonderful. We met so many interesting people, learned from culinary experts, and made some fantastic new friends.

We returned to Idaho, full.