Some Sad News, Some Very Exciting News…
THE SAD NEWS:
This coming weekend will be Chef Peter’s last weekend here at Uptown Billiards as he is returning to Alaska. As you know, Peter did a remarkable job for us while here and he will be missed. His food has been transcendent, his work ethic incomparable and his temperament was the most unshakable I have ever worked with for a top-flight artist. He has been wonderful and my team and I are sorry to lose him.
THE EXCITING NEWS:
It’s my job to figure out how to turn lemons into lemonade and I really lucked out this time around. Here is the long-winded (and I hope exciting) version for the many of you who have ranked Uptown among your “favorites” for a decade or so…
When I opened my other restaurant, Tavern on Kruse, I dreamt that Michelin-trained Chef Nate would remain the creative director behind Uptown’s 5-course dinners and other culinary endeavors. That plan required someone capable of executing Chef Nate’s creations with flawless precision. My dreams fell flat. The person I hired to work with Nate upon Tavern’s opening wasn’t much of a team player and given that Nate and I were mired in Tavern’s complexities, I sent Peter from Tavern to Uptown to do exactly what he did: everything!
Miraculously, my plan for Uptown is finally coming to fruition.
You may remember that before there was Nate, Uptown’s kitchen was led for years by a Vancouver BC “Chef of the Year” who the NY Times called “The Best Seafood Chef in Canada.” His name was Mark. Mark came and went from Uptown twice. The first time, he brought his long-time right-hand-man, Don Silver, with him and after Mark moved on Don ran Uptown’s kitchen for a couple years. The second time Mark left, he left Nate behind telling me, “You could never thank me enough for finding Nate for you.” Truer words were never spoken.
Nate and Don are different. Each is a specialist. Nate is a creative genius. Don, is a master forger (known in our industry as a Sous Chef), someone whose culinary technique challenges any I have ever known. When Don heard the Uptown position was opening, he sent me an email saying that he would like to come back – but on the condition he could learn from Nate’s creativity.
When I read that “condition,” my spine started to tingle. I walked into the kitchen at Tavern and asked Nate if he was ready to take the Uptown Five Course back on and he said, “absolutely.”
He and Don met last week, spent a couple days in the kitchen playing together, and whipped up a friendship as well as a whole new 5-Course plan of attack which not only includes “oversight,” but will have Nate back in Uptown’s kitchen on “New Menu Tuesdays” – so if you want to say hi, make your reservations for the first night of the new menus!
“Chocolate” will run for the next few weeks (starting this Friday) and “Chocolate” will be Peter’s swan song. If you want to pop over this weekend, I’m sure Peter would appreciate the chance to shake your hand and say farewell. Don will pick up “Chocolate” where Peter leaves off after this weekend and then he and Nate will launch their first collaborative effort on Tuesday, February 21st.
Owner, Uptown Billiards Club
Uptown Billiards Club, 120 NW 23rd Ave., 2nd Floor, Portland, OR 97210