“Local” is a term that is thrown around a lot these days. But for 2011 Portland Rising Star William Preisch, it’s not a term he takes lightly. Preisch works with Chef and Restaurateur Scott Dolich of The Bent Brick to craft an entirely, discriminately domestic, sustainable menu in an upscale tavern. If Portland is the national poster child for local, Bent Brick is Portland's poster child for local, even behind the bar (where mixo-staples like Italian bitters are as off-limits as Sherry vinegars and non-domestic products in the kitchen).
And though he might look young for a chef, Preisch is something of an industry vet. He was making cheesecakes, brownies, and pies for his father’s flagship diner in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, at the age of 12. He worked his way up the ladder to line cook, and, in 2004, with ambitions of learning more about the industry, he moved to Fire Food and Drink under Douglas Katz.
Preisch got a taste for sophisticated restaurants, and two years later, he moved to Oregon, drawn by Portland’s thriving restaurant scene. He worked at Le Pigeon and Park Kitchen. The latter restaurant (a Northwest restaurant with Mediterranean influences) was where Preisch met his mentor, Dolich. After a year and a bit at Park Kitchen, Preisch took the time to travel across America. He staged at restaurants and visited farms, familiarizing himself with all the permutations of American produce and cuisine. When he returned to Portland, it was to a position as sous chef at Park Kitchen, where he would continue to work for two more years. Dolich and Preisch then teamed up to open The Bent Brick. While the plates look avant-garde, it’s here that Preisch puts into practice all of his newfound knowledge on classic American foodways, from Louie sauce to ham.