Chef Jenn Louis is building her own culinary community in Portland, Oregon. Her leadership and culinary muscle has garnered attention on a national scale and allowed her to be a semifinalist for the 2010 and 2011 James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef Northwest.” In 2012, the popularity of Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern catapulted Louis’ presence on a national scale and she was named one of Food & Wine’s prestigious Best New Chefs. The following year, Jenn was selected as a cast member of season five of the hit Bravo TV show, “Top Chef Masters.”
When you go to each of her websites, you will be immersed in culinary visions of ecstasy! Their home pages include rotating images of delicious must-have dishes and make you immediately wanting to try them out. Let’s look at how it all started…..
In 2000, Louis’ entrepreneurial spirit led her to open Culinary Artistry, a full-service catering company, providing everything from valet service to floral arrangements to an array of menu styles. Today, it is considered one of the top event planning companies in Portland. Here, she earned the respect and attention as a top Portland caterer.
Eight years later, in 2008, rooted by the myriad inspirations of their home, Louis and husband David Welch opened their first brick-and-mortar concept, Lincoln Restaurant. Lincoln is a balance between old and new, modern and classic, rustic and refined. Chef Jenn Louis’ menu takes its cue from the seasons, harvesting locally-grown Pacific Northwest ingredients and transforming them into sophisticated, yet honest fare. Her mix of fortitude and finesse immediately made Lincoln a standout in the Portland restaurant scene.
Kale Bagna Cauda
- 1 pound kale, thick stems removed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1½ teaspoons chili flakes
- 3 small cloves garlic, sliced very thinly
- 8 anchovies, packed in olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Blanch the kale in salted boiling water until it is wilted and the chalky flavor disappears. Shock the kale in ice water until very cold. Remove the kale from the ice water and squeeze out all of the excess water. Slice the cooked kale into thick ribbons and set aside.
In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil, butter, chilies, garlic and anchovies. With the back of a fork, break up the anchovies as the mixture warms. The flavors will meld and the anchovies will dissolve. Add the kale and warm through. Squeeze lemon over kale, season with kosher salt and pepper, and serve.
The success of Lincoln was overwhelming, but it sparked an idea for her next venture. In the spring of 2011, Chef Jenn Louis and Welch launched their second restaurant, Sunshine Tavern, in the Southeast Division district of Portland. She and Welch sought to create a haven for both food enthusiasts and beverage connoisseurs, serving up soul-satisfying food, playful cocktails and an impressive selection of craft beers. For this quintessential tavern, Chef Jenn Louis created dishes that are comforting and unfussy, while using the highest quality ingredients available – a philosophy she has felt passionate about throughout her culinary career.
- Curry Nuts
- 2lbs hazelnuts
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- ¾ tsp cayenne
- ½ tsp black pepper, ground fine
- 2 each egg whites, whipped to stiff peaks
- 2.5 tbsp kosher salt
- ½ c sugar
- ½ c brown sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix curry, cayenne, black pepper, salt and sugar together, then fold into egg whites. Stir in nuts and spread on a parchment-lined sheet pan in a single layer. Bake until coating is set. Immediately sieve brown sugar to finish. Let cool completely and store in airtight containers.
Sunshine Baked Eggs
Yield: 6 baked egg servings
- ½ small onion, small dice
- 2” piece of rosemary
- 1 sage leaf
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- pinch red chili flakes
- 1 quart whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand to leave chunky
- 1T chopped Italian parsley
- 3 black oil-cured olives, pitted and cut into halves
- 12 large eggs
- 6- 1/4” slices pancetta, seared in a pan
- kosher salt
- black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees convection or 375 degrees non-convection. Over medium heat, saute onion, rosemary, sage, bay, and garlic, until onion is translucent and garlic is cooked through, but not brown. Add chili flakes and tomato and cook until sauce has reduced to medium thickness. Sauce should not be pasty or dry, nor watery. Season with chopped parsley, kosher salt and black pepper.
Place 1/4 c of tomato sauce in bottom of gratin dish. Crack 2 eggs on top of tomato sauce. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Bake for about 6 minutes in oven, covered, or until egg whites are barely cooked through.
Remove from oven, top with warm pancetta and serve.