James Beard was most active in Portland when I was a young child so I don't remember ever meeting him or eating in his restaurants.
I do remember everyone deferring to him as setting the standard for dishes and menus. He was The Master.
In our family if he recommended a particular technique of preparation or cooking there was no other way. His home in Gearhard on the Oregon coast was a pilgrimage for one visiting aunt.
As he became famous in New York and other places of status I always felt hometown pride.
Here is another Oregon connection: I have great fun hosting Greek cooking workshops on the Greek island of Paros. From one day in an active taverna kitchen to multi-days including wild herb gathering and buying fish off the boat it is a true Greek cooking experience.
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