Chef Jasper Shen of Aviary - Biography

Portland, OR

April 2011

A native of Silver Springs, Maryland, Chef Jasper Shen studied business at the University of Illinois before realizing that he was not meant for a 9 to 5 life. Drawn to restaurant kitchens for the camaraderie and atmosphere, Jasper started cooking at Maggiana’s Ristorante Italiano in Illinois. He soon left for New York City where he worked at restaurants from Aquavit and Jean Georges to 5 Ninth and Provence. Shen met Sarah Pliner in New York when they worked side by side at Aquavit. He was inspired by the teachings of Nils Noren, the then chef de cuisine. Noren taught Shen to see the passion in cooking and showed him how to work a station. Shen is one third of a New York team of chefs heading up Portland, Oregon’s Aviary. His colleagues and fellow co-owners and chefs are Sarah Pliner, Katherine Whitehead, and Sommelier Leah Moorhead. Shen brings his Chinese heritage to the menu at Aviary, combining bold and contrasting flavors.