Find Your Place in Portland’s Culinary Mecca

Anyone who has ever lived or visited Stumptown knows that Portland knows food. The city’s reputation for being a foodie paradise continues to grow, and with good reason.

The creativity of Portland chefs, the quality of the local ingredients, and the commitment to quality means that the Portland food scene has more than earned its status.

Which is why we chose Portland as our culinary home. Oregon Culinary Institute is a locally owned and operated culinary school in Portland, committed to the local approach to sourcing, prepping, and cooking food. We aim to inspire students and chefs to continue feeding Portland’s food scene through innovation and excellence.


What Defines Good Food?

There’s a reason why cooking and baking are referred to as the culinary arts: to be a chef, you should have passion and talent in the kitchen. Portland chefs and chefs-in-training live up to those standards by constantly thinking outside of the box. They take the freshest of meats and produce the area has to offer and look for new ways to combine and present them. The result is cuisine that takes from the best of the cultural diversity and fresh bounty of the area to elevate food to new heights.

That level of passion and creativity is celebrated by Portland foodies who support the local restaurants, food trucks, coffee shops, and pop-ups that make Portland their home. Some of the country’s most inspired chefs take their inspiration from the area, and some who have left to make a name for themselves in larger cities have returned to PDX because the food scene here is unlike any other. Portland is, after all, the home of James Beard, one of the most iconic American chefs who helped define fine dining during his lifetime.

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Quality Over Quantity

Making good food takes skill, but it certainly is easier with the best ingredients. Thanks to the unique aspects of Portland’s geographical location, the food grown here is superior and bountiful, ready to be prepared and served in a myriad of dishes. From Mt. Hood to the Columbia River, this region is also known for its burgeoning wine production and craft brew industry, and you know what pairs best with wine or beer? Good food.

Portland lives and cooks according to the three Fs – farming, fishing, and foraging. These food sources, and a commitment to using local, sustainable ingredients, allow chefs in Portland to do what they do best. Here’s a quick look at why:

·       Farming – The growing season is long in this temperate rainforest, which means that an abundance of local produce is always available. From healthy greens, such as kale and spinach, to the hometown heroes, marionberries, fruits and vegetables are often the stars of many main dishes on the menu.

·       Fishing – The coast of Oregon is where you’ll find some of the best oysters, clams, salmon, halibut, and Dungeness crab, so it’s no wonder that seafood is a big part of the food scene. Sustainability is incredibly important to the fishermen and chefs in the area, which hopefully will ensure plenty of delicious fish and shellfish for generations to come.

·       Foraging – A walk in the woods in the shadow of Mt. Hood can lead to a treasure trove of delicious and valuable mushrooms. Truffles and morels are plentiful here, which is why foraging is practically an industry and not just a hobby for people in Portland.

Call it what you will – soil to city or farm to table – this culinary trend has taken root in Portland and only continues to grow.


Out of the Kitchen

Portland’s cooking chops are just one aspect of what makes the quality of life in this Pacific Northwest city so fantastic. PDX has made a name for itself as being a bit quirky, which can be due in part to its cultural diversity and tolerance of all of its residents and visitors. The idea of a community that is open and accepting makes it attractive to people from all walks of life, especially creative types, which of course includes chefs. It’s the kind of city where your neighbors may keep bees or chickens, where people still smile and greet strangers, where recycling is just another thing you do, where brunch as a legitimate pastime, and where relaxed and casual are always in style.

The great outdoors is also a big attraction here, and people take advantage of the natural surroundings, rain or shine (but mostly rain). Here are some of the more popular activities that Portland offers:

·       Hiking in Forest Park, the largest urban forest in the US

·       Floating on the Willamette River

·       Exploring the Columbia River Gorge

·       Skiing and snowboarding on Mt. Hood

·       Driving along the gorgeous Oregon coast

·       Biking and walking on Tilikum Crossing, a bridge that is only open to mass transit, pedestrians, and cyclists

You can have your cake and eat it too in Portland because you have plenty of opportunities to work it off with an active lifestyle. No wonder so many people consider Stumptown one of the most livable cities in the nation.

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Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon

What better way to join in the Portland food scene than by being a part of it? At Oregon Culinary Institute, you can gain the skills and the confidence to branch out in the food and beverage industry. By studying culinary arts at OCI in Portland, you’ll be studying in the heart of a food paradise.

Our world-class culinary school can only be found here because we want to help mold the next great Portland chefs. The people behind OCI are from here. Our roots are here. We have one location, and we deliberately chose to build our school here to both feed Portland’s food scene and to be a part of it.

OCI students learn how to source, prep, cook, and serve, both in the classroom and at our open-to-the-public fine dining restaurant, located in the heart of the Portland famous food scene. Our Portland chef instructors work with students to help them learn valuable techniques but to also define their identity in the culinary world. Students can hone their skills while pursuing their passion, with many students going on to thrive in the same culinary city where they first started learning.

Many OCI alumni have gone on to influence the diverse cuisine of Portland through careers such as vegetarian or vegan chefs, bakery owners, farm to table restaurant managers, and so many more creative and inspiring culinary paths.


Get Your Culinary Training in Portland

Whether you are passionate about cooking or baking, you can learn, grow, and find your future at Oregon Culinary Institute. We teach students the Portland approach to responsibly sourcing, preparing, and cooking food, with the goal of providing the skills and confidence needed to succeed in the culinary world.

We also offer financial aid and scholarships so that a culinary education is within reach. Contact us to find out how you can enroll in one of our Culinary Arts or Baking & Pastry programs.