The East Coast has yet to know the pleasure of Chef John Stewart’s culinary style. The chef has been firmly—and happily—ensconced on the Western United States for his entire career, starting in the Southwest and landing, finally, in Portland, OR. After graduating from the Technical Vocational Institute in Albuquerque with an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts, Stewart threw himself into the back of the house, taking on every rank of the kitchen from dishwasher to prep cook and beyond, learning voraciously along the way. In fact, Stewart’s the kind of chef who’s probably had almost every conceivable job in a restaurant—tandoori oven manager, front of house manager, kitchen manager, sous chef, pastry chef, central kitchen manager, etc.
And this variety of experience wasn’t just in one place. Stewart learned his craft in restaurants all across the board, from high-volume Italian to small-scale dining that supports local farms. So it’s no surprise he showcases such creativity and ease of execution (you’ll get there when you’ve handled so many aspects of high-volume) at Portland’s Meat Cheese Bread, which Stewart opened in 2008, and already a standout casual sandwich joint in a vibrant dining city.