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A Portland Chef Going Above and Beyond

From the Editor: Everything you missed in food news last week

Jacob Harth and Nick Van Eck forage for shellfish on the Oregon coast
Jacob Harth foraging for seaweed in Oregon
Dina Avila

This post originally appeared on February 8, 2020 in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.

This week I just want to draw your attention to a mind-bogglingly impressive chef out of Portland, Oregon. I was familiar with Jacob Harth from our coverage of him, and his year-old hyper-sustainable seafood restaurant, Erizo, on Eater Portland; a profile of him when he was chosen as an Eater Young Gun (our annual list of outstanding young talent around the country); and our Best New Restaurant coverage (we like him, okay?).

But it wasn’t until I actually watched this new video series with him that I understood how he goes above and beyond my expectations for a talented chef and restaurateur. Obsessed with sustainable seafood and underutilized ingredients, he harvests gooseneck barnacles from Barview Jetty and dives for butter clams in Tillamook Bay, and then serves them in a tasting menu. He also focuses on bycatch and invasive species, sourced directly from fishermen. In an industry where the words “sustainable” and “organic” are used too loosely, it’s inspiring to see someone with such a stringent commitment to his sourcing.

I know we’ve read plenty about chefs who love to forage, who love to serve local food, who embrace their sense of place over the last decade. But watching Harth go out in the middle of the night to carefully pull volleyball-sized hunks of barnacles from an Oregon jetty or wrap 65-pound chains around his waist to dive for shellfish takes it to a new level for me. Anyway, watch the video! And maybe make a resy next time you’re in Portland.

On Eater

Thai tea tiramisu with mascarpone, caramelized condensed milk, and roasted peanuts
Thai tea tiramisu with mascarpone, caramelized condensed milk, and roasted peanuts
Patricia Chang

This Week on the Podcast

This week on Eater’s Digest, Daniel and I talk to Andrew Genung, an American writer based in Hong Kong, about how the half a year of protests and now the new coronavirus are impacting the restaurant scene there. Then we get into the biggest stories of the week.

Off Eater