Saucebox chef Adam Kekahuna is off to “spend more time with his family.”

From Johnathan Nicholas column in the Oregonian today (well, you didn’t think I’d miss this did you?), comes news that Chris Israel is now the permanent chef at Saucebox, taking place of chef Adam Kekahuna who is leaving to “spend more time with his family”.

I have to admit, I’m feeling a bit sad. Adam was probably the best target I ever had thanks to his lousy cooking, but even worse sense of crisis control. Chris Israel, the brains behind the orginal Zefiro and the man most responsible for Bruce Carey’s success, can turn Saucebox around if anyone can. I’ll look forward to going back.

Hmm… I think a red wig. I can’t remember if they were going to shoot me, hang me, or just throw me out the door. Nancy may need a buzz cut or something, maybe a nose ring. You know we have to go back!

Updated: a kind reader sent me the press release:

Chris Israel returns to Saucebox as Executive Chef
as of September 23, 2005

PORTLAND, OR — September 27, 2005 — Chris Israel, founding chef and co-owner of the legendary Zefiro Restaurant & Bar, and founding chef of Saucebox in Portland, has returned to the kitchen. As of September 23rd, Israel is executive chef of Saucebox, the 10 year old downtown Portland restaurant known for its creative cocktails, pan-Asian cuisine and great music. Chef Israel will introduce his new menu October 18th.

In 1990 Chris Israel, Bruce Carey and Monique Siu opened the doors of Zefiro in Northwest Portland, and soon after forever changed the culinary standards and dining experience for Portlanders. Israel, as chef, and Carey as concept/designer went on to open Saucebox, 5 years later, which introduced diners to pan-Asian cuisine, late night djs, and sexy dining.

Joe Rogers became a partner of Saucebox in recent years and serves as general manager, as well as marketing director for the restaurant group which includes Bluehour, Saucebox and the new Balvo, due to open in December 2005. Israel has rejoined Bruce Carey Restaurants as chef and partner.

Prior to moving back to Portland, Israel was an associate art director at Vanity Fair magazine in New York.

Saucebox is located at 214 S.W. Broadway, Portland, Oregon 97205. 503.241.3393

If you haven’t ever read it, this small novel I wrote after both Willamette Week’s Nancy, and I happened to review Saucebox on the same week is entertaining, thought provoking reading: My novel here

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. S says


    I believe your Jonathan Nicholas link is broken.

    Also if you ever run out of regular Joes, or in my case Janes, to drag along for untutored opinions, I’m ready to go! It sounds like fun…

  2. says

    Months before the review, I ate at Bluehour; it was lunch, and fairly empty, and my tablemate whispered, “That’s the owner,” and pointed to Bruce, who was chatting with two guys at a nearby table but also giving me glancing, impish looks that asked, and who are you? And I thought, he looks like fun.

    So no, I don’t want an apology–life is messy and on we go. But I’d take a cocktail.

  3. sloppyseconds says

    I moved to Portland about 8 years ago and the first resteraunt I went to was Saucebox. I was so excited to be living in a place that had such a cool, inexpensive dining experience and used to take all of my friends there when visiting. Wonder what member of the clan decided to completly ruin the place and jak up the prices.

    Please fill me in. Thanks.

  4. CZ says

    Posted by: CZ
    I agree with sloppyseconds. Great Prices & flavorable, waayy back when…..Explosive back in 2004/5…However no longer…it’s today’s chef who can’t cook! It used to be a really fun place to eat & drink with Adam there, exciting place to visit, a place where I tell people to stop in for a bite/drink. But, now the bite is bitter…and with price inflations, eew! Guess what! I’ll recommend my friends to go else where. And, FoodDude your comment on 9/29/05; it’s you who have got not taste and can’t cook too!

  5. Barman says

    Adam’s a great cook and person. He has a young daughter that he adores and is always thinking of her best interests. Perhaps that’s why he left Saucebox. The late hours and heavy work week. He is now a sous chef at the Portland City Grill. (You can see his name on the wall off the elevator bay.) Perhaps a step down in food quality, but probably better hours and more pay. Family first, work second.

  6. Hunter says

    Wow dude, I didn’t know “you have got not taste and can’t cook too”. You must be beside yourself.

  7. Food Dude says

    Souns like I are unfit to do anythin. Isn’t that why people become critics? Sigh. This is a day when all my secruds are being exposed.

  8. Pork Cop says

    It gonna be tough for the boys to find a chef with a name as Sauceboxy as Kekahuna. They should have kept him on just for that.

  9. Apollo says

    That’s funny. I thought Adam’s food was junk too. Maybe CZ is just lacking the salt tastebud… Adam’s stuff was always waaaay too salty. Oh, and very unispired. It remided me of Roy’s, infact some of the items were almost identical… Hmm….

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