Chef Jenn Louis of Lincoln Restaurant - Biography

Portland, OR

September 2015

Many things might be learned at an Outward Bound base-camp, deep in the North Carolina woods. Usually, they don’t involve wanting to become a chef. But then, Jenn Louis’s story isn’t that ordinary. A wayward teenage artist who’d done her fair share of traveling (Europe, North and South America, several months in Israel), Louis found herself cooking at Outward Bound and (coincidentally) had the kind of epiphany the program is intended for: she found her discipline.

After studying at the Western Culinary Institute of Portland, Louis began work as a line cook at the prominent local restaurant Wildwood. From there, an inspired Louis opened Culinary Artistry, a full-service catering company that provided everything from valet service and floral arrangements to an array of menu concepts. It’s now one of the top event-planning companies in Portland, with a reputation for sustainability.

Still ambitious eight years later, Louis and now husband David Welch opened Lincoln Restaurant, a refined-rustic, seasonal and local reflection of the Pacific Northwest that’s earned her semifinalist positions on the 2010 and 2011 James Beard “Best Chef: Northwest” list and a StarChefs Rising Star award. In 2011, she and Welch opened soulful food and cocktail spot Sunshine Tavern in Portland’s Southeast Division district. At Sunshine, Louis’s sustainable, product-based passions shine through and earned her a spot on Food & Wine’s 2012 “Best New Chefs” list.