Interview with Portland Rising Star Chef Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon - Portland, OR
Antoinette Bruno: What inspired you to pursue cooking professionally?
Gabriel Rucker: I didn’t like my math class in junior college.
AB: How are you involved in your local culinary community?
GR: We're all friends. We do lots of events together. There’s not too much competition between us. Portland itself has been riding such a wave of popularity.
AB: What’s the biggest challenge facing your restaurant?
GR: The fact that Burnside Street is about to go into major construction for two years to go one-way, and a major transit station will go in front of our restaurant.
AB: What’s the toughest thing you’ve had to do in your job?
GR: I just got back from St. Croix at the Virgin Islands Food and Wine Festival. None of my food showed up with my baggage. I was cooking two meals, where people were paying $1,000 a piece. I had four hours of sleep in 48 hours. It was 90 degrees in a super humid kitchen.
AB: What trends do you see emerging?
GR: Next to Napa, Portland is more obsessed with offal than any other city. We kind of got that going two years ago. I don’t want to take credit for that, but we definitely had a big part.
AB: How do you keep abreast of the latest trends?
GR: I travel a lot. Also tons of chefs, when they travel, come here and sit at the counter so I get to chat.
AB: What chef would you like to cook for you?
GR: Martin Picard from Au Pied du Cochon. I'd like to eat his food.
AB: What is your proudest accomplishment?
GR: Being open for four years and having the same staff the entire time.
AB: What’s next for you? Where will we find you in five years?
GR: Probably right in the same spot, as long as people keep coming to Portland to eat food. I'm really happy here. I'm going to stay here.
Chef Gabriel RuckerLe Pigeon
738 East Burnside Street
Portland, OR 97214