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Big-Name Chefs Arrive in Portland This Week for a New Women-Centric Food Festival

Roux encompasses a number of meals, panels, and workshops centered around some of the country’s most influential female chefs and makers

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A photo of chef Kia Damon
Kia Damon, who will be participating in Roux’s main dinner
Christian Rodriguez / Official
Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

Portland is now home to a food festival completely centered around women.

October 5 marks the beginning of Roux, a two-day food festival comprised of panels, workshops, and meals celebrating influential women in the food industry — chefs, sommeliers, designers, writers, and even a dishware ceramicist. Influential chefs and recipe designers like Cherry Bombe’s Kia Damon and Eater Young Gun Ashleigh Shanti will cook alongside chefs like Black Feast’s Salimatu Amabebe and Yonder’s Maya Lovelace, while other food media personalities like Healthyish’s Amanda Shapiro and Vice’s Rupa Bhattacharya moderate panels of food bloggers and restaurant marketing experts. Roux also highlights women specifically working to create and promote restaurants owned by women, especially women of color: People like Michelle Magat of food business incubator La Cocina and Ashtin Berry of intersectional creative content agency Radical Xchange will appear on panels at Roux.

Panels often involve some sort of snacks or drinks, from a high tea pop-up covering contemporary wellness, or Kate’s Ice Cream served at a panel about contemporary sustainability in the food and farming industries. The event’s meals are similarly multifaceted: For instance, at the Roux dinner, a cocktail and wine hour also involves a “provisions bar,” where attendees can build Smith Tea blends, sample Seattle Chocolates, or take home edible bouquets for home kitchens. The cocktail hour is followed by a collaborative meal designed by Damon, Amabebe, former Le Pigeon pastry chef Helen Jo, and Jo’s former Milk Bar collaborator Jena Derman.

Roux co-founders Delia Tethong, Heather Wallberg, and Jenna Winkler wanted to create a platform that celebrated the women they found underrepresented in food media and the larger conversation about the food industry. “It was brought about by seeing the same people and chefs celebrated again and again,” Tethong says. “We were following these amazing women and chefs and we wanted to give them a platform.” While building a docket of talent to feature, participants mentioned people they wanted to work with — Lovelace brought up Shanti as a potential collaborator for her Sunday morning brunch, for instance, and Jo mentioned Derman as a potential pastry-chef-partner for the evening dinner. Overall, however, the Roux team wanted a list of participants that had a range of backgrounds and culinary experiences, with a distinct perspective on the industry. “We wanted to curate this list about their backgrounds, their stories,” Tethong says. “We wanted them to have something to say.”

Events range from $25 to $95, with several tickets still available — The only event that has sold out is the fermentation workshop with Tartine’s Caitlin Hata. Scroll down for more information about the festival and remaining event tickets.

The Events

The Hazel Hall Pop-Up

What it is: A high tea and panel with organic T Project teas, tea sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and desserts
Who will be there: Chelsea Williams of health blog That’s Chelsea, Holly Hukill of Portland’s Serra Cannabis, Salimatu Amabebe of Black Feast, pop-up The Hazel Hall, and moderator Amanda Shapiro of Bon Appetit cooking vertical Healthyish
When it is: October 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where it is: Bar West, 1221 NW 21st Avenue
Cost: $60 (almost sold out)
Learn more

Future of Food Practices

What it is: A panel that tackles the concept of sustainability, from organic farming to waste-free cooking
Who will be there: Panelists include Stacey Givens of Portland’s Side Yard Farm, Caitlin Hata of Los Angeles’ Manufactory LA and Tartine, Laura Brennan Bissell of Berkeley’s Inconnu Wine, Sana Javeri Kadri of Diaspora Co., Yiyi Mendoza of Yesfolk, and moderator Shelley Armistead of Los Angeles’ Gjelina. Food will be provided by Kate’s Ice Cream, Bohana, and Olipop
When it is: October 5 from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Where it is: Bar West, 1221 NW 21st Avenue
Cost: $25
Learn more

The Roux Dinner

What it is: A collaborative dinner with a cocktail hour, natural wine, a provisions bar with build-your-own edible bouquets and tea blends, and large shareable plates.
Who will be there: Kia Damon formerly of New York’s Lalito, Salimatu Amabebe of Portland’s Black Feast, pastry chef Helen Jo formerly of Portland’s Le Pigeon and New York’s Milk Bar, Jena Derman formerly of Milk Bar, and Dana Frank of Portland’s Bar Norman
When it is: October 5 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where it is: Jacobsen Salt, 602 SE Salmon Street
Cost: $95
Learn more

Evolution of Branding

What it is: A panel centered on successful marketing and branding for food businesses
Who will be there: Briaan Barron of Seattle Chocolate, Connie Matisse of East Fork Pottery, Deana Saukam of Faim Fatale, Mallory Pilcher of Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and Suzanne D’Amato of Food52
When it is: October 6 from 10 a.m. to noon
Where it is: Bar West, 1221 NW 21st Avenue
Cost: $25
Learn more

Paint + Ceramic Workshop

What it is: A paint and ceramics workshop with snacks and drinks
Who will be there: Portland artist Maja Dlugolecki and ceramicist Rachael Williams of Margaret & Beau, with food and drink from Califia Farms
When it is: October 6 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Where it is: Bar West, 1221 NW 21st Avenue
Cost: $55
Learn more

Brunch Culture

What it is: A brunch incorporating culinary traditions from around the world, including live-culture cocktails made with hard kombucha
Who will be there: Eater Young Guns Maya Lovelace of Portland’s Yonder and Mae and Ashleigh Shanti of Asheville’s Benne on Eagle
When it is: October 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where it is: Yonder, 4636 NE 42nd Avenue
Cost: $55
Learn more

Powerhouse Panel

What it is: A discussion panel with restaurant industry writers, chefs, and creatives covering women’s empowerment in the food industry
Who will be there: Sue Chan of Care of Chan, Kia Damon of Cherry Bombe, Michelle Magat of La Cocina, Ashtin Berry of Radical Xchange, Amanda Saab of food blog Amanda’s Plate, moderator Rupa Bhattacharya of Vice
When it is: October 6 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Where it is: Bar West, 1221 NW 21st Avenue
Cost: $55, including a copy of the La Cocina’s Cookbook, drinks, and snacks
Learn more

Roux [Official]
• The Nonprofit That’s Launched Dozens of Food Businesses Owned by Women of Color [Eater]
The Past as Possibility in the Appalachian South [E]
How Kia Damon Keeps It Cool in the Kitchen [Vogue]