Tuesday, February 11, 2014
What's Cookin' at Good Keuken
"I remind them that cooking traces itself to the dirt. We telescope into a place, learn what sort of agriculture the soil supports, what evolves through the season, and who historically inhabited the place. Suddenly there is a different clarity at the moment the fire is under the skillet."
- Robert Reynolds
It's not easy to carry on the work of a legend, but that's just what Blake van Roekel (below left) is doing at Good Keuken (pron. COOK-in). Robert Reynolds, a chef and educator who'd cooked his way through some of the best kitchens on at least two continents, settled in Portland and opened The Chef Studio to work one-on-one with students, passing on his passion for local food. Van Roekel had been one of those students, eventually spending five years under Reynolds' tutelage, later becoming the heir to his mission when he died in 2012.
Old Salt Marketplace, part of Meyers' vision to make the building a center for the surrounding community to gather, eat and learn. Opening with consumer-friendly cooking classes for the general public, van Roekel recently took the next step in achieving her vision with the addition of Chef David Padberg (below right) as Chef Instructor and Director of Curriculum.
With a resumé remarkably similar to Reynolds', Padberg began his career cooking his way through Europe, absorbing cuisines and techniques that helped refine his own approach. Moving to Portland, he was blown away by the region's vast bounty of fresh ingredients. An avid forager and gardener, he built relationships with a network of the area's best farmers and ranchers, rising to run kitchens at some of the city's best restaurants.
Other efforts taking shape at Good Keuken include yanking culinary education outside the confines of the kitchen with Get Dirty Farm Tours, a first-in-Oregon tour company where chefs and food lovers—the "farm-curious"—can connect with farmers who are using sustainable, ecologically sound practices. Plus there are the continuing classes in everything from modernist cuisine to butchery with some of the area's best chefs, and opportunities to meet-and-greet with cookbook authors and teachers.
Sounds like a solid next step in Portland's culinary evolution, one Robert Reynolds would have been proud to be part of.
Details: Good Keuken, 5031 NE 42nd Ave. 503-753-1655.
Photos: Collage at top and Blake van Roekel from Good Keuken; David Padberg by Jeremy Fenske.