World Chefs: Gabriel Rucker's love for meat, Portland shines in first book

Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:04am EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chef Gabriel Rucker shares his love for meat in his first cookbook, along with eclectic recipes that have made his Portland, Oregon restaurant, Le Pigeon, a must-go destination for food enthusiasts.

The California-born cook also discusses the ingredients of the Northwestern U.S. city that have inspired his French-influenced dishes in "Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird," which he co-wrote with his business partner Andrew Fortgang and his wife and pastry chef Lauren Fortgang, and food writer Meredith Erickson.

Rucker, 32, spoke to Reuters about how the Portland dining scene and his favorite meat dishes and ingredients.

Q: What do you want readers to take away from your book?

A: We decided to tell the story of the first five years of the restaurant. It evolved so much and morphed into what it is. You get a breadth of the recipes from the early days like duck nuggets, or "duck, duck, pigeon," or the himachi tartar with truffles or cured foie gras. There are more contemporary recipes like foie gras carpaccio and chanterelle mushroom soup with foie gras candy cap sandwich.

We try to tell a story of a restaurant but also of a place because the community influences so much of what we do here in Portland.

Q: How much has the neighborhood where Le Pigeon is changed?

A: In the neighborhood when we first moved in people were selling heroin in front of the restaurant. Prostitutes were at the corner. But like all things, the place gentrified itself. It's become kind of a destination area.   Continued...