Chef Gabe Rosen of Biwa - Biography

Portland, OR

April 2011

Chef Gabe Rosen grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, in a family obsessed with food. He started working in the restaurant industry in 1995, while he was a student at the University of Iowa. He found that he really enjoyed cooking, and in 1997, he left the university to attend culinary school at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon.

After graduating from WCI in 1998, Rosen spent a summer interning in pastry at Aqua in San Francisco under Michael Mina; he then returned to Portland to work at Couvron. A year of rotations through Portland kitchens followed, including brief stints at L'Auberge, saucebox and Fratelli Ristorante & Bar. In 2001, Rosen returned to school, this time to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Japanese Language at Portland State University. For his final year, Rosen studied in Japan at Hokkaido University in Sapporo.

Upon his return to Portland, Rosen took a job as a butcher at Viande Meats (a small, craft-focused butcher shop). Suffering with a deep withdrawal from a lack of good Japanese food and itching to attempt a restaurant of his own, Rosen partnered with Kina Voelz and opened Biwa in March of 2007. Izakaya restaurants in Portland have since exploded—a trend largely due to Biwa’s success.