The previously-announced Feast Portland, the city's first major international food and beverage festival, is headed for some big-league status: Bon Appétit magazine has signed on as the national media partner. "The town feels very right now," said Bon App editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport, who last month ran a feature with Andy Ricker, of Portland's award-winning Pok Pok. "It's one of those cities that keeps coming up."
Already involved with two events (Vegas Uncork'd in Las Vegas and Chicago Gourmet), Feast Portland is the first event the magazine is working with since the relaunch back in May. "We can help craft it and create it from point A," said Rapoport, who will help promote, orchestrate, and recruit chefs for the event. "You don't need a consumer marketing report to tell you that this town is happening," Rapoport continued. "It's not just the restaurants that are interesting, it's the whole spirit, the ethos, that's reflective of the food movement in America in general right now."
Feast Portland is being put together by Mike Thelin (who's produced similar events in Austin, Seattle, and New York City, including the past two Eater Awards) and Carrie Welch (food publicist and co-creator of the New York City Wine and Food Festival). Thelin called partnering with Bon Appétit very flattering, as it's "the sexiest thing in food publications right now." The magazine, he said, "is tapping into a vein of what people in food are truly interested in."
Feast Portland's lineup has a bunch of Portland chefs including Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon), Naomi Pomeroy (Beast), Jason French (Ned Ludd), and Gregory Denton (the forthcoming OX Restaurant). There'll also be national talent including Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (of Animal in LA), Seamus Mullen (NYC's Tertulia), and Brad Farmerie (NYC's Public). According to Thelin, every event that features an out-of-town chef will be a collaboration with a Portland chef.
Sponsors include Travel Oregon (the state tourism commission) and Whole Foods, who'll be presenting a daytime speakers series dealing with animal welfare, sustainability, and social media. "It's digging a little deeper programatically," explained Thelin, "But then at night our events are going to be themed and really fun."
Planned events include an Asian-style night market put together by Pok Pok's Andy Ricker and a "Sandwich Invitational," a sandwich making competition. "Think of it like an indie-rock golf tournament," said Thelin.
All profits will go to hunger relief (Share Our Strength and Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon). "Portland is a city that's extraordinarily passionate about food," said Thelin, citing the city's civic engagement. "People who live here see the world through a lens of food. James Beard is from Portland, for example."
· Feast Portland [Official Site]