NEW FRONTIERS: Portlandia
This year saw more James Beard Finalists than ever from Oregon, a StarChefs.com Rising Stars in Portland, and an influx of Portland artisanship pervading the country, with Portland producers like Olympic Provisions, Nicky Farms, Moonstruck Chocolates, and Stumptown Coffee appearing in major markets (which is kind of ironic, considering how locavore-loco Portlanders are, but we digress). Because the Portland market is so saturated with artisans, talent is starting to migrate elsewhere, too. They bring their artisanship with them, to Panther Coffee in Miami and Austin’s Noble Pig (via Chef John Bates), for example. It remains to be seen if they can translate the city’s quirky DIY approach to more expensive markets. But restaurateurs from Portland like Andy Ricker are opening in New York, and somms like Jacob Grier are high-tailing it to Hawaii. And because of Portland’s coffee scene, with over 15 micro coffee roasters, and Stumptown leading the way in terms of mass production, the average Joe now recognizes that a cup o’ joe is not just Starbucks anymore.