Team-Ups: Inside Matthew Lightner and Sean Brock’s Feast Portland Dinner
The first annual Feast Portland festival happened over the weekend in PDX, and some of the biggest highlights were the collaboration dinners pairing up chefs like Inaki Aizpitarte of Paris's Le Chateaubriand with San Francisco's Daniel Patterson, or April Bloomfield with PDX chef Jenn Louis. Another inspired matchup: Matthew Lightner, from Atera, and Charleston's Sean Brock. Grub managed to attend the Saturday night dinner they served at Portland's Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and introduced by Andrew Knowlton of media sponsor Bon Appétit.
Often for this type of meal, chefs take turns cooking the different courses; however, the seven-course repast was a true collaboration, and the guys more or less winged it, Lightner told us. He explained that they had thought about ingredients beforehand — the meal incorporated signatures from the Northwest, including hazelnuts, Dungeness crab, salmon, wildflowers, and truffles — but the actual dishes only came together Saturday, after an early-morning trip to the farmers' market.
Despite this, the two pulled off a pretty impressive meal. Of course dinner started with snacks, including little sandwiches fashioned from dehydrated-pig's-blood crackers filled with lard and huckleberries. There was an unusual combination of Dungeness crab meat and ground hazelnuts that somehow worked when topped with spicy edible flours; lamb tartare tasted incredibly intense, which we learned later was thanks to smoked tomatoes mixed in with the meat. We also managed to scarf down beef, listed on the menu as Kobe, with black truffle sauce and sour cream. And course six, white-rose-and-wildflower sherbet tasted exactly like flowers. But enough description. See photos of the whole thing straight ahead.