Oregon Culinary Institute ~ At the Chef’s Table

Oregon Culinary Institute ~ At the Chef’s Table

Name ~ Oregon Culinary Institute

Location ~ 1701 SW Jefferson St. Portland, Oregon 97201

Food Type ~ Chef’s Menu/Varies

Website ~ www.oregonculinaryinstitute.com/diner-information

Spring Break was a very memorable food week! We had some super juicy soup dumplings from XLB and some fantastic Japanese food from Midori Sushi. Oh, let’s not forget the sweet stuff! An Xuyen was of course, dessert heaven ~ glorious cupcakes, yummy tarts, and heavenly tiramisu ~ love, love, love!

But the most unforgettable meal was at the Oregon Culinary Institute. If you haven’t been there yet, they offer up a 3 course lunch, as well as a 4 course dinner. We opted for the 4 course meal because hey, an additional course is where it’s at, right?

We arrived just in time to be seated at 7 p.m.  We were pleasantly surprised when the host seated us at the “Chef’s Table”. We were front and center (or let’s say, to the left) of the kitchen action and it was pretty cool! We had a chance to watch the student chefs in action and listened to some “cheffy” lingo being tossed around while they meticulously plated each course. We were pretty impressed by their skillful preparation and seamless coordination.

While I sat there, I became nostalgic and a little bit envious. When I was a kid, I loved to cook and played “restaurant” with my 2 sisters and brother. Guess who was always the Chef? Moi!

Well, my love for all things culinary grew with me. A few months before I graduated from high school, I decided that chef school would be my thing. As I announced my desire to take off to attend the Culinary Institute of America, my parents were like, “Pfft, what! You want to be a…a… cook?!” They were totally floored by my choice. They thought my aspiration was lowly and disgraceful!

They decided that going to a University and graduating with a degree would be my road to success and would afford me a “good job.” After all, a University degree does guarantee a bright and successful future! Right! (Who agrees or disagrees with that?)

So, during my first year at University, I basically partied, neglected my studies and skipped a lot of classes. Studying was of no interest to me but after I was on the verge of failing my freshman year, I begrudgingly started to apply myself. I eventually graduated with a BA in English Literature.

And. Here. I. Am. Writing a food blog, lol! Hey, it’s close enough to being a chef! I get to create recipes, cook to my hearts desire and write about it! A blessing in disguise!

Anyways, back to the fabulous OCI meal. My son, daughter and I were so ready to relish some tasty, beautiful food.

Of course, I bossed them around and told them that there will absolutely be no ordering of duplicate courses. Yes, I planned to taste their food as well as devour mine. Yay, how yummy for me!

And I always say, “Wait! Don’t eat yet!” I always stop them before they dig in so I can take the shot. They are soooo compliant! (But really rolling their eyes in annoyance and thinking, “Geez Mom. Enough! So embarassing! )

Ok, let’s take a look at our courses:


Pork Rillette – Savory Apricot Jam, Mustard, Crostini, Chervil


Cauliflower, Leek & Turmeric Soup – Cumin Fried Chickpeas, Citrus Cream


Shaved Fennel & Arugula – Briar Rose Feta, Blood Orange, Pink Peppercorn Vinaigrette


Radicchio – Lardon, Castelvetrano Olives, Creamy Sherry Vinaigrette, Parsley Leaf


Seared Scallops – Grilled Oyster Mushrooms, White Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Black Garlic Molasses


Lamb Meatballs – Moroccan Tomato Sauce, Chard, Israeli Cous Cous, Preserved Lemon, Labneh


Spice-Rub Hanger Steak – Farro, Carrot Cream, Pearl Onions, Parsnip Chips, Fermented Chili


OCI Chocolate Dream Torte – Crème Chantilly


Crème Brûlée – Shortbread Cookies


Spice Cake – Fruit Coulis and Chantilly

The food was so delicious and the plating was absolutely beautiful. For me, the most spectacular presentation was the Spice-Rub Hanger Steak. Look at the vibrant color of the carrot cream just popping out at you. I thought it was a great presentation. And the parsnip chips were so good!

Suffice to say, this 4 course dinner inspired my kids and brought out even more of their foodie side. (I’d like to think that I had some small influence on them as well. Wink wink.)

Throughout the meal, my son asked me about certain unfamiliar ingredients and really enjoyed watching the action from our chef’s table. Being that he is all about good food and service, he really appreciated how the chef’s were so detail-oriented and professional while seamlessly spinning out so many courses.

My daughter, when she isn’t eating hot & spicy Cheetos, was just as appreciative. Being the budding artist, she commented about the beautiful plating and really enjoyed her meal. I was a little concerned when she ordered the radicchio salad, as that radicchio has somewhat of a bitterness.

But she dove into it and didn’t mind the slight bitterness of the radicchio. She also threw in a jibe and remarked, “it’s nice to have a great meal, other than Asian food all the time!” (Premise ~ when we go out, we usually have Asian food and she’s so done with it, lol!)

Not again!

Ok, as you can tell, we thoroughly enjoyed our Oregon Culinary Institute 4 course winter dinner. The menu was well thought out and the budding chefs successfully utilized the winter’s ingredients harmoniously. And where else can you get a 4 course, high end experience for $22 per person? Wow!

Thanks OCI chefs for creating such a memorable food experience for us and best of luck in your career as a chef. You got this! See y’all at the next meal!

As always, we hope you enjoyed reading this and have been inspired to book a “Chef’s Table” for your very own Oregon Culinary Institute 4 course dinner! Come back and tell us all about it!

Yummily yours,

The Hungry Chilipinos

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