For the Love of Food

Related Story: Get in the Mood With Food: The Kitchen is the New Bedroom

Story by Kerry Newberry | Photos by Andrea Johnson

Many Portlanders fall in love on the corner of S.E. 28th and Pine. Some even declare it love at first sight.

The object of affection captivates with irresistible aromas wafting from its oven of baby blue against a backdrop of classic white subway tiles. Its colorful Le Creuset cookware glimmers like jewels under a skylight, inviting you to roll up your sleeves and engage in the fresh ingredients abounding everywhere.

At Robert Reynolds Chefs Studio, it is not a matter of if the culinary cupid will strike his arrow, but when.

It might be after slicing voluptuous cabbage with a Wusthof Cook’s Knife, then gently sautéeing the earthly delight in red wine that the romance starts. Or perhaps, the steamy affair gets serious as the two slowly simmer over a purée of potatoes and parsnips, peaking with a swirl of crème fraîche.

Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” At the Chefs Studio, Shaw’s wisdom is shared, giving the staff inspiration to spread their passion for food, like salty French butter on a slice of crusty bread.

In celebration of food’s romance, OWP has asked the Studio’s four chefs to prepare a winter’s night menu for two—or more. The detailed recipes will have you slicing, dicing, braising and baking your way to love this Valentine’s Day.

Bon Appétit!


Toasts with Ham and Gruyère

Recipe by Robert Reynolds


* slices of thinly sliced toasted baguette

* paper-thin slices of ham, or speck

* grated gruyère cheese

* sour cream or crème fraîche


1. Top each slice with ham, then gruyère. Place the toasts on a baking sheet and warm in a 325°F oven for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts. NOTE: You can substitute smoked salmon for the ham, and crème fraîche or sour cream for the gruyere. Do not put in the oven.

Wine Pairing

2003 Soter Vineyards Brut Rosé Beacon Hill


Celery Root Leek Soup with Smoked Salmon

Recipe by Chef Blake Van Roekel 


5 leeks, white part only

4 tablespoons butter

1 celery root, ¼-inch dice

1 small parsnip, chopped

1 potato, peeled and chopped

4 cups of chicken stock, warmed

1 cup of heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

* salt, to taste

* smoked salmon lox, thinly sliced (garnish)

* scallions or chives, thinly sliced at an angle (garnish)

* crème fraîche or sour cream (garnish)


1. Slice leeks lengthwise and thinly slice at an angle on the bias. Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan and add leeks. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, cover and sweat (do not brown) leeks over low heat until soft and sweet, 5 to 10 minutes. 2. Peel rough outer layer from the celery root and dice into ¼-inch pieces. Add them to the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes. Add stock in ½ cup increments as needed to keep the vegetables from browning and to replace moisture. 3. Place potatoes, parsnips and the remainder of the chicken stock in the pan, cover and bring to a simmer. When potatoes and parsnips are tender, approximately 20 minutes, purée in a blender until smooth. Add nutmeg, pepper and season with salt to taste. Finish with cream. Serve warm with a swirl of crème fraiche, scallions and salmon lox. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Wine Pairing

2007 Love & Squalor Riesling Eola Hills Vineyard


Endive Salad with Carrot, Prune and Poached Egg

Recipe by Chef Courtney Sproule


2 teaspoons white wine vinegar (plus more for poaching liquid)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

7 tablespoons flavorless oil, (grapeseed or canola)

2 tablespoons crème fraîche

1 small carrot, peeled and grated on the medium side of a box grater (look for scarlet-colored carrots if you’d like something heart-red) 

½–1 teaspoon very finely minced shallot

1 large prune, pitted and finely diced

1–2 teaspoons chopped parsley

1 large white Belgian endive

2 chives

1 slice lox (optional, if you’re not using it on the toasts)

2–3 eggs

* kosher salt

* Fleur de Sel (or finishing salt), to taste

* white pepper, ground, to taste


1. Make the vinaigrette and carrot salad (this can be done a day or two ahead). In a mixing bowl, whisk together white wine vinegar, Dijon, thyme, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Have your partner pour the oil into the bowl in a very thin, steady stream while you whisk vigorously to form an emulsion. Whisk in crème fraîche. Add more salt to taste and white pepper. 2. In another bowl, combine carrot, shallot, prune and parsley with about 2 scant tablespoons of the above vinaigrette. Add Fleur de Sel and white pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate carrot salad as well as remaining vinaigrette. 3. On Valentine’s Day: Crack 2 eggs (or 3 if you’d like training wheels) into small cups to prepare them for poaching (I like to use demi-tasses for their small size and handle, which allow you to gently slip the egg into the poaching liquid). Do this before eating the soup so the eggs can come to room temperature. 4. When ready to serve, bring water to a gentle simmer in a shallot pan. Add about 2½ teaspoons white wine vinegar and 2½ teaspoons salt per 3 cups water. Slip the eggs gently into the water, being careful not to pull the cups up too abruptly and poach at a very gentle simmer until whites are just set, about 3 minutes. 5. Meanwhile, slice chives very finely on the bias and dice smoked salmon (if using). Cut the bottom off the endive, discard any damaged outer leaves, and place about 12 leaves in a bowl.  Whisk vinaigrette to revive emulsion and toss about 2 scant tablespoons with the endive leaves. (I find it’s easier to use your hands to distribute the vinaigrette evenly—your partner can lick off the excess). Add Fleur de Sel and white pepper to taste. 6. Decoratively arrange endive leaves on plates. Pick one leaf per plate and mound a couple tablespoons of the carrot salad on it. When the eggs are finished poaching, remove gently from the water with a slotted spoon, pat dry on a towel, and slip into another endive leaf.  Garnish the eggs with Fleur de Sel, white pepper, chive and smoked salmon (if using). 

Wine Pairing

2008 Matello “Whistling Ridge” White Wine


Smoked Pork Loin

Recipes by Chef Robert Reynolds


2–3 pound pork loin

* smoked sea salt, to finish


My first recommendation would be to purchase the loin already roasted and smoked lightly. The better the talent of the butcher, the better the quality of the finished product. If you prepare the loin yourself, use a cut either from the center, or from the tail end. I avoid the shoulder end of the loin for a preparation like this as this cut includes muscle, attached to the loin, which requires over-cooking the loin in order to cook the muscle. 1. Sear the loin for a minute and a half on each side, two times. Then roast the loin on a rack at 325°F to an internal temperature of 145°F. Remove the meat from the oven, wrap it in a kitchen towel and allow the meat to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. As the meat rests, the moisture redistributes and the finished slices are moist, tender and flavorful. 2. Finish the meat with a sprinkling of smoked sea salt that can be found at specialty stores.

Red Cabbage with Pears and Raisins


2–4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon duck fat (optional)

1 small onion, halved, peeled, thinly sliced

1 head red cabbage, quartered, cored and sliced as thin as spaghetti

1 cup red wine (Pinot Noir, Gamay)

1 firm Bartlett pear, peeled, quartered, then sliced in thirds

½ cup golden raisins (optional)

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley

* salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and the duck fat in a braising pot. Add the onion, a sprinkling of salt, and sauté for a few minutes until it starts to soften without browning. Add the cabbage and season again lightly with salt. Cook for a few minutes, tossing to coat with fats. 2. Add wine and the pear; cover and cook on low heat until the cabbage is tender, about 25 minutes. Add the raisins if desired during the last five minutes. NOTE: Most of the liquid should be absorbed by the time the cabbage is tender. If it needs more liquid, don’t hesitate to add more wine or water. 3. When ready to serve, add a generous pat of butter and freshly chopped parsley. Correct the seasonings and serve as an accompaniment to the roast pork.

Wine Pairing

2006 William Hatcher Willamette Valley Pinot Noir


Savarin with Roasted Pineapple

Recipe by Chef Kristen D. Murray


1,000 grams all-purpose flour

150 grams sugar

20 grams sea salt

10 eggs

¼ cup tepid water

4 tablespoons yeast

24 ounces softened cubed butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

¼ cup of your favorite rum

1 lime, zested

1 vanilla bean, chopped finely

1 tablespoon chopped mint or basil

1 ripe pineapple

½ cup raw sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice

2 tablespoons of your favorite rum


1. Put flour, sugar and sea salt in a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl with a dough hook. Begin to mix on low. Add eggs, one by one, and mix for 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix water and yeast to make a paste. Add to the above ingredients. Mix for 5 minutes. Add the softened cubed butter slowly to incorporate. Mix for 20 minutes or until silky smooth. Let proof until doubled in size. Chill overnight. 2. Next day, scale 4-ounce portions and roll into logs. Then, make a ring like a doughnut and pinch ends together. Let the dough proof once more. Gently brush the pastry with one beaten egg (egg wash). Bake in a preheated oven at 325°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden. Reserve. 3. To make the soaking syrup: Bring 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, rum, zest of lime, finely chopped vanilla bean and chopped mint (or basil) to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Strain. Dip the Savarin (pastry) in the syrup—it will absorb quite a bit of liquid. 4. Cut away the peel of the pineapple and cut into long strips. Toss with the raw sugar and drizzle with the orange juice/rum mixture. Roast at 375°F for 10 to 15 minutes to caramelize the fruit. 5. Serve each savarin with a piece of beautifully roasted pineapple and whipped cream, creme fraîche or your favorite vanilla ice cream.

Wine Pairing

2007 Evening Land Vineyards “Seven Springs Vineyard–La Source” Estate Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay


Robert Reynolds is chef, teacher, author. He has trained in France with Madeleine Kamman, and prior to that, with Josephine Araldo, San Francisco’s most famous Cordon Bleu chef. Reynolds operated a restaurant in San Francisco for 15 years. He has been training students in the U.S. and in France for 30 years. Recently he collaborated with Vitaly & Kimberly Paley on the “The Paley’s Place Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Pacific Northwest.”

Kristen D. Murray has been a pastry chef for the past 15 years in San Francisco, New York, Boston and, most recently, Portland. She is best known for light, seasonal, flavor-forward desserts that are based in French technique. Her passionate playfulness with food is balanced with a skilled focus and a detailed hand. She teaches the craft and art of pastry at the Chefs Studio. She believes there is nothing as special as sharing the intimacy and love of cuisine.

Blake Van Roekel of Keuken creates art-inspired culinary events utilizing the best of what Oregon’s farms have to offer. She’s a former student and current instructor at the Chefs Studio. When she’s not in the kitchen or eating chocolate, Van Roekel can be found at farms helping the vegetables grow.

Operating originally as a supper club in 2007, Courtney Sproule’s company, din din, has evolved into a private catering business. Sproule, a self-taught cook, teaches classes at the Chefs Studio. She has worked as brunch chef at Matchbox Lounge and is a board member for the Hollywood Farmers Market.

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