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The Next Season of ‘Top Chef’ Will Take Place in Portland

Plus, a new Western Washington distillery becomes the country’s first legal, indigenous-owned distillery to open on tribal land

Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons stand in the grocery store set of Top Chef
Top Chef judges Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons
NBCUniversal / Official
Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

The Next Season of Top Chef Will Showcase Portland

Top Chef’s 18th season will use the Rose City as a battleground, as well as cities and towns beyond Portland proper. Chefs from around the country will descend on places like the Hood River Fruit Loop, the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon’s Mt. Hood territory, Tillamook, Tualatin Valley and Willamette Valley wine country to compete for the title of Top Chef. Chefs like Nina Compton (Compère Lapin), James Beard winner Kwame Onwuachi, and Portland’s own Gregory Goudet will join Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons in judging the main competition. The season will premiere in 2021. [O]

The Chehalis Tribe Opens a Distillery in Washington

Talking Cedar distillery will soon start brewing whiskey, vodka, and gin in Grand Mound, Washington, but the Chehalis Tribe — the owners of the distillery — have gone through more than the average distiller to simply begin making spirits. The tribe initially began working on the distillery in 2015, but discovered in 2017 that they would be violating an 1834 federal law that banned the production of spirits on tribal land. Tribal chairman Harry Pickernell, alongside others, fought to overturn the law, which finally happened in late 2018. With the arrival of coronavirus in Washington, the distillery focused on making hand sanitizer. However, Talking Cedar’s restaurant has opened, and distillery production should begin very soon. For now, the bar is serving spirits made by partner Heritage Distilling Co.[OPB]

A New Ghost Kitchen Opens Oct. 6 With Six New ‘Restaurants’

From the new hot chicken place from a Chefstable catering chef to Pok Pok’s latest affair with national delivery company Reef Kitchens, local Portland chefs have started to play around with ghost kitchens, or commissary-style incubators housing a number of delivery-only restaurants. The latest: Central Kitchen, an ‘online food hall’ with six separate delivery-only brands. Portland chefs John Plew and Keith Castro of CEG Hospitality, known for its Thirsty Lion brewpubs, are the minds behind Central Kitchen; Thirsty Lion’s brewpub is just one of the six virtual restaurants within Central Kitchen, joined by Japanese concept Soy Joy, customizable burger spot BYOBurger, taqueria Tortilla Sunrise, fried chicken shop Southern Jewel, and hot wing emporium Killer Wings. Central Kitchen should go live Oct. 6 on most delivery apps, but customers can also order curbside pickup on the ghost kitchen’s website.