What do you get when you combine elevated southern cooking with hearty, yet refined Pacific Northwest flavors? One sophisticated fusion of smoky essences, southern classics, and of course, Tillamook Cheese.
Renowned Atlanta Chef, Zach Meloy, graciously hosted an event we dubbed “West Meets East Feast”, and to bring the Portland flavor, we flew in Chef Doug Adams of The Woodsman Tavern, one of Portland’s most popular restaurants. Chef Doug Adams is also in the process of opening his own restaurant, Bullard, in downtown Portland later this year. These long-time friends and incredible chefs developed a creative menu that featured the best of both their worlds, from savory hushpuppies to cheddary desserts, all with Tillamook Cheese. Before the event, we had the pleasure of asking our talented chefs a few questions about their cooking and what they love about working with Tillamook Cheese.
Interview with Chef Zach
What are you planning for tonight’s menu?
Chef Zach: “Tonight we’re hosting a Tillamook dinner featuring a menu full of cheeses. We brought in our favorite Chef Doug Adams to create a Pacific-Northwest-meets-Southeast mashup with Tillamook Cheese in every dish.”
What’s your favorite thing about working with Tillamook Cheese?
Chef Zach: “Cheese is my blood type! The best part about Tillamook Cheese is that you have almost like a painter’s palette of options. When you’re thinking about your finished meal and what to use, you consider the flavor of the cheese, the texture, the color, whether or not it has been aged, etc. And there’s a Tillamook Cheese no matter what you’re looking for. It’s very versatile.”
How did you get into cooking?
Chef Zach: “I’m from a family of eaters. Whenever I got home from school or work or just running errands, my mom would always ask ‘Would you eat today?’ That was always the first thing she asked. I’ve cataloged my whole life based on the meals I’ve had.”
Interview with Chef Doug
How did you and Chef Zach come up with tonight’s menu?
Chef Doug: “It happened very organically. It’s always fun when you are good friends with the chef you’re working with. We just started shooting the breeze and came up with fun ideas. I live in Portland, but I grew up in Texas, so Chef Zach and I have a similar background. I think we also have a similar style when we’re cooking and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
How do the Pacific Northwest flavors inspire your cooking?
Chef Doug: “Any chef who is paying attention is really connected to the ingredients around them. In Portland, we take that really seriously and we source everything locally. Having Tillamook Cheese available locally is a huge benefit when we’re cooking.”
What’s your favorite way to use Tillamook Cheese?
Chef Doug: “I’m a total grilled cheese and tomato soup guy. It’s a comfort food and it reminds me of my mom and staying home sick as a kid, so it’s my go-to after a long, 12-hour day at the restaurant. Cheese is one of those ingredients that has a special place in a lot of chefs’ hearts. It’s a simple ingredient that you grow up using as a kid and it’s always been there. It’s not a fancy ingredient you only get to play with when you work at a high-end restaurant. It’s an across the board, relatable ingredient for all of us.”