Chef Cathy Whims of Nostrana - Biography

Portland, OR

April 2012

Chef Cathy Whims was part of the team and eventually co-owner at Portland’s upscale Italian, Genoa. Whims studied Latin at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also had the fortune to study with Marcella and Victor Hazan in Venice, and Madeleine Kamman at the School for American Chefs. Whims cooked in the Langhe region of Italy at Antica Torre Trattoria in Barbaresco, and with Marco Forneris at Osteria La Libera in Alba.

Whims opened Southeast Portland restaurant Nostrana in 2005 with her partner, David West. It quickly earned The Oregonian’s Best Restaurant of the Year Award. The Italian restaurant serves approachable regional food made with Northwest produce and cooked in a wood oven—like Neapolitan-style pizzas—or over a wood-fired grill. Chef Whims is a 2011 James Beard Award finalist for “Best Chef Northwest.” She was also a finalist in 2009 and 2010.