A Celebration of Creative Food and Thinking in Portland, Oregon

By Judiaann Woo. Photography by Gregor Halenda.

It was an evening to remember. Last month, iSi brought together some of Portland, Oregon’s finest culinary talents for a one-night-only, exclusive dinner celebrating the fresh flavors and fresh thinking of the Pacific Northwest.

014 - Michelle Ruocco
PDX Innovator and host chef José Chesa plates his course at Chesa.


Michelle Ruocco
Korean and Jamaican flavors compliment this foam-topped cocktail by Michelle Ruocco of Han Oak.


The dinner, a culmination of several months of engaging with Portland’s vibrant food scene, served both to inspire beyond the Pacific Northwest but to also thank regional customers and advocates who have supported iSi throughout the years. “By sharing how tastemakers in Portland use iSi to make food better, we hope to inspire other chefs and businesses in other great food cities to do the same,” says Jeanette Brick, iSi North America’s President.

A stunning landscape of Pacific Northwest flavors and textures by José Chesa of Chesa.


Becky Reeves
Barista’s Becky Reeves uses the rapid-infusion method to add additional layers of flavor to this aromatic non-alcoholic coffee cocktail.


55 invited guests were treated to a multi-course dinner prepared by PDX Innovators, a whose who of the city’s most acclaimed plus some up-and-comers, including chefs Naomi Pomeroy (Beast, Expatriate), Aaron Adams (Farm Spirit), Jose Chesa (Chesa, Ataula, 180), Gregory Gourdet (Departure), Geovanna Salas (Castagna), John Pickett and Doug Weiler (Willow Restaurant), mixologist Michelle Ruocco (Han Oak), and barista Becky Reeves (Barista).

The first of two dessert courses. This one features the flavors of citrus, yogurt and almond by Geovanna Salas of Castagna.


Mike Thelin, the city’s unofficial mayor of good taste and co-founder of Feast Portland food festival, spoke about Portland’s influence on the national food scene and iSi’s CEO, Richard Agresta, shared some history about the company’s longstanding ties with the Pacific Northwest. A short preview video played before the serving of each course. See videos featuring PDX Innovators.

Naomi Pomeroy
Before the addition of a creamy mirin-dashi sabayon, lay hidden treasures of oysters, mushrooms, and trout roe by Naomi Pomeroy of Beast.


Gregory Gourdet
Shiokoji injected ribeye with aerated ssamjang by Gregory Gourdet of Departure.


For the chefs, the iSi-hosted event provided an opportunity to connect with the brand and experiment with new tools and techniques. The dinner also provided a fun and collaborative environment to cook and share their food with a room full of friends, fans, media, and supporters. For chef Jose Chesa whose namesake restaurant served as the event venue, “It was an honor to have so many of Portland’s finest all cooking together in one kitchen.” For iSi, Portland and PDX Innovators is just one way to stay better connected with those shaping the culinary landscape of tomorrow, not just in Portland but throughout the United States.

Aaron Adams of Farm Spirit assists Gregory Gourdet of Departure in plating his course.


In the coming weeks, look for more from these PDX Innovators on iSi’s social media channels. If you’re a culinary professional based in Austin, Texas and would like to be considered for a future collaboration, contact judiaannw@gmail.com with “iSi in Austin” in the subject line for consideration.

Geovanna Sala
Pastry chef Geovanna Salas of Castagna.


A final round of applause for all those who participated in making the PDX Innovators dinner a success.




the second step: ford’s gin, gochujang syrup, cynar, cinnamon-juniper
tincture, jamaican bitters, underground-gingersnap foam
Michelle Ruocco l Han Oak

corteza bunuelo
arroz negro cracker
crema de calcots
Jose Chesa l Chesa

ume pickled kumamoto oyster, maitake mushroom with
miso butter, smoked trout roe, mirin-dashi sabayon
Naomi Pomeroy l Beast

purple sprouting broccoli, rye crisp, filbert yogurt,
aerated filbert whey, bay laurel butter
Aaron Adams l Farm Spirit

foie escabeche, potxas, cabbage, capsicum
José Chesa l Chesa

heirloom mocktail: barrel-aged, honey-infused espresso,
pink peppercorn bitters, mango and rosemary
Becky Reeves l Barista

shiokoji injected ribeye, ssamjang, scallion, yu choy
Gregory Gourdet l Departure

citrus, yogurt and almond
Geovanna Salas l Castagna

‘cookies & cream’
celery root & vanilla custard,
toasted meringue, hazelnuts
Doug Weiler & John Pickett l Willow




Judiaann Woo is the former VP of Culinary Development for iSi North America. During her time, with the company, she whipped, aerated, foamed and carbonated everything under the sun and had a whole lot of fun doing it. Today, she lives in Portland, Oregon and continues to share her passion for food with others willing to travel for the next great meal. See what she’s been eating recently @judiaann.

Post and photo by iSi North America | PUBLISHED: April 28, 2017