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Lauded Portland Chef Cameron Addy Has Died

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The Ava Gene’s and La Moule chef was well-loved for his good humor and positivity

Chef Cameron Addy
Curtesy of the family of Cameron Addy

Cameron Addy, a chef who helped open restaurants like Ava Gene’s, La Moule, and the restaurants at the Hoxton Hotel, passed away of a sudden cardiac arrest last Wednesday. He is survived by his wife, Linda Schleis Addy, and their daughter Ella.

Addy spent the last two-odd decades working as a chef in a number of lauded Portland restaurants, including St. Jack, Ava Gene’s, and La Moule. He was most recently the executive chef for the restaurants at the Hoxton hotel, running the kitchen there until it closed due to COVID-19 regulations. The hotel’s current executive chef, BJ Smith of Smokehouse Tavern, referred to Addy as “one of the most likable and friendly people I’ve ever known;” its restaurant and bar director, Kate Berman, told Eater that “Cameron was a shining light of a complete example of everything good that hospitality could be. Everyone who knew him looked up to him, he brightened any room he walked into.”

Other members of the restaurant community, including St. Jack owner and head chef Aaron Barnett, shared similar sentiments. “He would sing his way through service, get everyone to laugh,” said Barnett. “Always positive, and always funny; you could never be mad when that guy was in the room. He would drag you out of whatever garbage mess was in your head. He did that his entire career, anyone you talk to will say the same.”

While working together at La Moule, Barnett and Addy would often play around with side projects — one such project was the Pretty Penny, a fried chicken sandwich inspired by Addy’s background growing up in Georgia. Served on Texas toast, the sandwich included slaw and “comeback sauce,” and ran as a special at La Moule. When it was featured as sandwich shop Lardo’s monthly guest “chefwich,” owner Rick Gencarelli reported that it sold over 3,400, making it the record holder.

Barnett and Berman have organized a fundraiser for Addy’s family, with restaurants across town making their own version of the Pretty Penny and donating the proceeds from each sold starting this Friday. The growing list of participants includes Lardo, Smokehouse Tavern, Eem, Hat Yai, XLB, Kachka, Laurelhurst Market, Bigs Chicken, Stammtisch, and Oui Chippy. The list will be updated at a GoFundMe page for Addy’s family.

In a public statement, Schleis Addy talked about her husband’s childhood growing up in the South, learning to love food in his grandfather’s tomato garden and his father’s chili dog shop. “He sat with everyone and wanted to know their methods, their process, who taught them, their view.” says Linda of her late husband. “He taught his daughter the same lessons of love and joy in the kitchen while I set the table and washed the dishes and made the reservations. He was creative and passionate and kind and so loved. So loved.”