Executive Chef Alex Yoder’s roots in the Pacific Northwest food community run deep. Born in Northeast Portland to a family of cooks, he grew up in the kitchen and learned the intrinsic value of preparing seasonal, locally-sourced cuisine long before it was fashionable.
While attending Southern Oregon University in Ashland as a sociology major, Yoder worked at venerable Chateaulin restaurant, and discovered that his true calling was behind the stove rather than behind a desk. Returning to Portland after college, Yoder procured a job at Castagna restaurant and worked his way up from line cook to Café Castagna sous chef under then-executive chef Kevin Gibson. At Castagna, he also met and worked with his future collaborators, Nate Tilden and Elias Cairo. Moving on to Clyde Common, Yoder again diligently worked his way from line cook to sous chef, before taking the helm at Olympic Provisions as executive chef in December of 2010. Yoder, 29, prefers to spend his free time with his head in a cookbook, and counts octopus, sardines, and oxtails among his best friends.
He is thrilled to be at the helm of one of Portland’s most exciting restaurants, where he takes an ingredient-driven approach to formulating his Mediterranean-influenced menu. “This is the way I like to cook, because this is the way I like to eat,” he said. “Sometimes you’re in the mood for protein, and sometimes you just want a salad and fresh vegetables.”
Chef Alex Yoder’s Mushroom Soup with Farro and Grana Padano
- 1# chanterelle mushrooms, torn into bite size strands if large
- 1# oyster mushrooms, torn into bite size strands
- 2# cremini mushrooms sliced thinly
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 1 and 1/4 cup Marsala wine
- 2 Tbs. soy sauce
- 1 recipe mushroom stock (recipe follows)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for roasting and sautéing
For Mushroom stock:
3.5 oz. dried porcini mushrooms, 3 onions peeled and cut into 1" dice, 3 carrots peeled and cut into 1" rounds, 3 celery ribs cut into 1" pieces, 1 bay leaf, 2 Tbs. salt, 1 gallon water
1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hour.
2. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids. You should have 3 quarts of liquid. If you have more than 3 quarts, return the liquid to the heat and simmer until reduced to 3 quarts.
|1||Toss the chanterelles and oyster mushrooms with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Roast them in a 400 degree oven until they are well browned and beginning to crisp up, about 15 minutes. Set aside. |
|2||Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan and add the onions. Season them immediately with salt. Sweat the onions until they are fully cooked and sweet. Set aside.|
|3||Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauce pan and add the cremini mushrooms. Season them immediately with salt and begin to stir them. After a few minutes they will begin to release their liquid. Quite a lot of liquid will come out. Continue cooking them over medium heat until the liquid is reduced and the pan is dry. At this point the mushrooms will begin to caramelize and go from gray-brown to brown-auburn. If the pan seems dry, add more olive oil. Cook, stirring continuously, until the mushrooms are browned to your liking. |
|4||Add the tomato paste and cook for one minute stirring continuously.|
|5||Add the Marsala and cook until the wine is thick and syrupy, about five minutes.|
|6||Add the mushroom stock and bring to a simmer. |
|7||Add the oyster mushrooms, chanterelles, and onions and stir to combine.|
|8||Add the soy sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.|
|9||To serve: Mound 1/3 cup farro in the center of as many bowls as you have guests. Top each mound with a pinch of the parsley and thyme. Ladle 8 oz. of the soup into each bowl and finish with a grating of Grana Padano. |