The Ambassadors Dinner is an exclusive evening recognizing the sponsors and significant supporters of the Classic Wines Auction. Guests enjoy an elegant evening starting with chef and wine stations followed by a delectable multi-course meal paired with wines from the year’s Honorary Wine Ambassadors. The Ambassadors Dinner recognizes our vibrant community of sponsors while offering the unique opportunity to meet the Honorary Wine Ambassadors, sample their wines and learn about the rich history of their vineyards and wine making.
An Evening with the 2018 Honorary Wine Ambassadors
MARCH 2, 2018 | LEFTBANK ANNEX | 6:00 PM | BUSINESS ATTIRE
The Ambassadors Dinner is presented exclusively for the sponsors and significant supporters of the Classic Wines Auction and guests are welcomed by invitation only.
Learn more about how you or your company can sponsor this year’s Classic Wines Auction.
HONORARY WINE AMBASSADORS
We are pleased to showcase four exceptional Honorary Wine Ambassadors at the 2018 Classic Wines Auction. Representing the premier wine growing regions of Oregon, Washington, California and France, these Honorary Ambassadors and Winemakers truly exemplify premium wine labels and producers.
The Wines of our Ambassadors will be featured at the 2018 Classic Wines Auction and Ambassadors Dinner.
2018 AMBASSADORS DINNER CHEFS
We are pleased to feature the following incredible chefs at the 2018 Ambassadors Dinner.
EXECUTIVE CHEF + OWNER / LA MOULE + RESTAURANT ST. JACK
Aaron Barnett’s fascination with 60s and 70s culture, from food to music, began as a kid growing up in Canada with parents who instilled in him a love of cooking and eating well. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in L.A., Barnett landed at Lumière in Vancouver, B.C., followed by Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco—two of the world’s premier dining destinations. Learning from the industry’s most talented and impassioned chefs proved to be pivotal for Barnett. When he opened St. Jack in 2010, his mission was to create Portland Oregon’s quintessential French restaurant. The result—a homage to the traditional Bouchons of Lyon, taking on classic and often adventurous bistro fare using Pacific Northwest ingredients and Barnett’s expert influence—has indeed become a Portland institution. St. Jack has won multiple awards, including the Oregonian’s Rising Star in 2010, the Portland Rising Star Chef award in 2011, and a nod from James Beard in 2012. Like St. Jack, Barnett’s second project, La Moule, which opened in 2015, is a celebration of time, place, and rustic refinement, offering an unabashedly playful, modernized spin on retro, continental cuisine and French technique. When Barnett is not at his restaurants, he enjoys exploring Oregon and appreciating music with his wife and son.
RESTAURANTEUR / CHEF
John Gorham is co-owner and Executive Chef of several iconic Portland restaurants: Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons, Tasty n Alder, and PLAZA DEL TORO. He is also the co-owner of Mediterranean Exploration Company, BYH Burgers, and Shalom Y’all, and founder of the La Ruta PDX gastronomic festival.
Gorham believes that a chef’s cuisine and style is influenced by a trade route composed of travels, past work, cities lived in, and foods that their family made growing up. A “chef of the people,” Gorham celebrates a range of global cuisines at his influential restaurants, each with a unique identity but all embodying the quintessential Portland dining experience of family-style dishes, house-made charcuterie and seasonal sustainably-sourced ingredients.
BRUNCH CHEF DE CUISINE, TASTY N SONS
A proud native Oregonian, Erin was curious about food from a very young age. She learned to garden and preserve foods, to catch crabs and clams, to pick the mushrooms and berries of the Pacific Northwest. She has explored many different international cuisines and ingredients through both travel and cooking and continues to try new things. With 14 years in the industry, Erin thrives on the pace and energy of the restaurant. The enjoyment she finds in cooking for others, as well as honoring the ingredients used, are daily reminders of her love for the kitchen.
DINNER CHEF, TASTY N SONS
Marcus arrived in Portland in 2014, bringing with him a deep history and heritage of southern food and cooking. Marcus is a classically trained culinary school graduate, but draws his inspiration from past memories, travels, and experiences. Upon arriving in Portland, he immediately knew that Tasty n Sons was the place he wanted to be. Influenced by his mother, Marcus believes food is a bridge that brings people together. At its best, a great dish can make you travel back to childhood and your grandmother’s kitchen.
EXECUTIVE CHEF, M.E.C. & SHALOM Y’ALL
Kasey Mills and John Gorham have worked closely together at Toro Bravo for the past seven years. Inspired by the way a region’s cuisine tells a story of its people’s interactions and exchanges over time, Mills aims to bring the rich cultural history of the eastern Mediterranean to the Pacific Northwest. His menu of diverse yet cohesive dishes pays tribute to the exploration of people across the Mediterranean throughout history. After seven years at Toro Bravo, Mills opened M.E.C as a co-owner with Gorham. The two have become like brothers in their time in kitchen trenches and their travels to Israel and the surrounding area for menu research. Mills finds inspiration in his world travels as much as his explorations in his own garden and through the pages of cookbooks.
CHEF, TORO BRAVO
Pat Manning grew up in Kremling, Colorado skiing, snowboarding and skateboarding in his mountain home. He moved to Portland with a single intention: conquer culinary school. Pat quickly learned that no one conquers culinary school, you earn everything in the restaurant business. The Le Courdon Bleu WCI was his foot in the door at Toro Bravo. He began as the dishwasher, but after proving himself, he began working his way up the ladder. In 2011, Manning moved back to Colorado only to find the culinary scene lacking and his heart missing Toro Bravo. He and his wife returned to Portland in 2012 to make it their forever home. Toro Bravo is the restaurant home that Pat always sought. He took over the role of Chef de Cuisine in 2014.
CHEF DE CUISINE, PLAZA DEL TORO
Michael began his culinary career volunteering at a sushi bar on the weekends until he was good enough to accept the lofty title of “Sushi Apprentice.” He eventually became the head sushi chef at Aubergine in San Diego. After 15 years of sushi in the San Diego area, he attended culinary school in Las Vegas, where he started working for his first Michelin-star restaurant, Andre’s French Restaurant. From Andre’s he worked at Koi in Planet Hollywood, RM Seafood in Mandalay Bay, and opened Bar Masa in Las Vegas, which soon moved him to the three Michelin-star Masa in New York. Kessler went on to work for April Bloomfield, David Burke, and was a sous chef for Masaharu Morimoto. He traveled to Portland in 2011 and never left.