Going into this interview, I wasn’t sure what we were going to talk about. Last year, when we spoke, Paul Losch had been working as one of two chefs at the wonderful Killingsworth restaurant DOC. As far as I knew, not much had changed for him, so I feared a somewhat boring phone call. As it turns out, we’ve caught him at a pretty exciting moment; “My last day at DOC was last week, and this past Sunday was actually my first day at a new job.”
He was ready for a change, not too surprising considering he’s been working in super high end restaurant world since his early 20’s, when he fled his rural upbringing for the shiny, metropolitan kitchens of London and New York. It’s probably time for a little breathing room. While he plans to take some time, and figure out what’s next, he won’t be totally out of the kitchen. “I’ll be doing a few pop up dinners with Winderlea Vineyards, which I did last summer and are really fun. They host small meals for their wine club members at the vineyard, 10-15 people. It’s a great way to get people down to their beautiful property, eat some good food, and of course taste their great wines.”
Losch has a ‘day job’ lined up too, but it’s a bit of a departure from the late nights and super busy pace of DOC’s kitchen. He’ll be working with terrific local bakery Nuvrei, which has recently opened a cafe. They’ve asked him to consult with them about the savory side of things as they branch out. I can’t think of a more perfect union — seriously! Have you had his food? Have you had their pastries? Oh la la!
All of this sounds very nice, but surely there’s something else brewing?“Yeah, I’d like to host a few dinners, supper club-style maybe? Just word of mouth, a few emails to friends or friends of friend. Maybe get a commercial kitchen, do a few different locations.” Basically this is your heads up people! MAKE FRIENDS WITH THIS GUY! Sunday is your moment! Get on this list.
And because I just couldn’t help myself, and this ‘supper club’ thing is such a tease… Long term? “I feel like I’m trying to focus on that — sort of testing the waters. I definitely have it on my mind to open something on my own in the next few years.” (!!!). He isn’t sure where it’ll be just yet. “I definitely love Oregon, but Portland might be a little cosmopolitan for my inner country kid”. In other words, better enjoy his fresh pasta demo this Sunday, and get on those supper club invite lists — it might be a bit of a drive next time.
(In Paul’s own words)
I find the ideal candidate greens for grilling to be small(er), compact varieties, with firm leaves & dense heads. Lttle gems & standard radicchio are my two favorites.
1. First things first, if you are grilling the greens, get your grill hot. A medium high heat is good. This isn’t a slow & low grill, it’s more of a quick char/marking. (if you don’t have a grill, a hot cast iron, or steel pan on the stove will also work well)
2. You will want to give the lettuces a quick rinse while the are still whole, and allow to drip dry for 15-20 minutes. Then cut in half through the core, lengthwise. Place them cut side up on a pan or tray of some sort, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
3. Place the lettuce cut-side down on the grill and let cook for 3-4 minutes, turn them once to mark, leaving them cut side down. You are looking for a good, dark char on them before you pull them off.
4. I like to serve them simply, with some good salt, aged balsamic, & lemon (juice, zest, preserved, it all works).
P.S. You can also try grilling cucumbers in much the same way. Just, after cut in half, dry the cut side with a towel to get a better grill & prevent sticking.