It is an exciting time for food, and eating, in Central Oregon.
The idea of local, fresh food is no longer a novel idea, but the standard and expectation for diners. And, for the past decade, Zydeco, our Restaurant of the Year, has led those trends, while also presenting those fresh and healthy foods in creative, classy and, yes, tasty ways.
Also, this past year, two different chefs were given esteemed acknowledgments from the James Beard Foundation, the equivalent of an Oscar nomination. Ariana and Andres Fernandez of Ariana, and Joe Kim of 5 Fusion.
Moreover, the idea about what it means to be a restaurant is being challenged. Our Rookie of the Year, The Lot, is not a traditional restaurant, but a collection of food carts—a pod—that are developing a new, dynamic and fun dining experience in Bend.
We were pleased to sit down with local chefs and farmers to help us navigate through this new and changing landscape.
"It is about food and ambiance," says Lisa Glickman, one member of our Restaurant Advisory Committee and a local food critic and chef. "It is about the whole experience."
"It is a dance, a relationship with the consumer," adds Gene Fritz, the executive chef of the Culinary Institute at COCC and another member of our advisory committee.
And, with that assessment, let's dance! Happy Dining!