I’ve been fielding a few comments and emails about why FEAST for 2022 was canceled. This newsletter explains their reasoning and is posted in its entirety.
Welcome to the Feast newsletter. We’re so glad you’re here. When we began planning the return of Feast in early 2022, we set two objectives for the year. The first was to return to our September full weekend format for the first time since 2019. The second was to completely revamp our newsletter into a new platform for news and storytelling for the food and beverage industry in Portland.
With great sadness, we announced a few weeks ago that an in-person festival is not possible for Feast in 2022. There are many reasons for this decision. For one, and speaking frankly, the pandemic not only deeply hurt Feast as an organization, it also deeply affected just about everyone with whom we collaborate. And unlike many of our music festival peers, Feast and most culinary festivals were not eligible for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant that has been instrumental in reviving the live events industry. All of that said, we are not licking wounds and we are happy that so many of our favorite festivals will return this summer. But speaking for ourselves, after an attempted reboot, we learned we need more time to rebuild in a manner that allows us to deliver the quality experience for which Feast is known.
And even more importantly, we feel strongly and deeply that our city and the food and beverage community in particular need more time to rebuild. Restaurants small and large are still struggling. Both the pandemic and a lack of coherent leadership in Portland have been especially hard on the food and beverage industry. And although it may seem at times that daily life is beginning to feel more “normal”, it’s a fact that restaurants large and small are still struggling–whether that’s financially, with supply chain-related issues, or with staffing–and usually all of the above. Only with thriving restaurants and a deep spirit and culture of collaboration can culinary events like Feast exist in a manner that is sustainable and brings value to all.
We believe wholeheartedly in Portland, and we look forward to rebuilding our festival when the time is right and when our community is ready. But in the meantime, we are excited to share that we will be moving forward with our newsletter project as a way to stay engaged with all of you throughout the summer and fall. And so, the expansion of this newsletter, which strives to tell stories from Portland to the Feast audience, and to serve the wider Feast community, which amounts to tens of thousands of you subscribing as of press time.
The voice and the point of view of this newsletter will feel familiar to those who know and have attended past Feast events, but there will also be an element of discovery: new stories, new voices, and a fresh new perspective on the city’s food scene, edited by our friend Jordan Michelman, a Portland-based James Beard Award-winning journalist with a national footprint, who will serve as the Feast newsletter editor. Jordan has penned a lovely welcome and introduction below.
Feast has always been at its core a vehicle for storytelling and connection. This viewpoint has helped inform what we do at Feast as a festival, weaving a tapestry of connections across our city, the country, and often globally too. We want to continue and expand our storytelling mission, to shine a light on what’s good and true in our city’s remarkable food and beverage community. It feels like the right thing to do—and also a fun thing to do. Right now we all need more fun.
This is Portland storytelling with a Feast flavor, and we’ve saved you a seat. Thank you for joining us.
A Warm Welcome and Hello from Editor Jordan Michelman
Friends of Feast, hungry readers, lend me your ears, your eyes, your stomachs. My name is Jordan Michelman and today I’m really excited to be joining you as the editor of the Feast newsletter. I’m a national food and beverage journalist based here in Portland, Oregon, a basecamp from which I contribute to publications near and far, including Portland Monthly Magazine, The Stranger (Seattle), Taste (NYC), Punch (NYC), the Los Angeles Times, Noble Rot Magazine (London), San Francisco Chronicle, and more. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to be overseeing this here Feast newsletter, which will print bi-weekly, focused on pursuing interesting, thought-provoking, delicious, meaningful, occasionally weird and at times challenging culinary journalism. Along the way you’ll hear from a growing group of talented writers, each contributing their own unique perspective to the plot. The goal is to write about Portland’s extraordinary food and beverage scene through a national lens, like how we talk about this city to friends visiting from out of town. Each issue you’ll read a quick hit of what we’re eating and drinking that week, plus original features and must-reads from around town.
Feast is something that has long captured my imagination, first and foremost as someone who loves food, and is always hungry—I remember sneaking into the 2012 edition of Feast Night Market at the Ecotrust Building, and later I helped provide original coverage of Feast alongside the teams at Portland Monthly and Sprudge, the international coffee publication I co-founded in 2009. To me, Feast speaks to something deeply good about Portland’s food and beverage community, in the sense that it is collaborative, curious, and a beacon to draw in outsiders who want to come and play with us, to see what we’re all about here in this stumpy little city with a big reputation. Feast has always been a multi-various canvas, the sort of place where Portland’s most interesting chefs collaborate, but also it’s a portal for Portland food lovers to discover new stuff, to broaden their horizons and palates. This was certainly the case for me: Feast was the first place I ever tried the food of seminal chefs like Aaron Franklin (Franklin BBQ) or Ravi Kapur (Good Good Culture Club + Liholiho Yacht Club). Attending and writing about Feast helped turn me on to bigger ideas about food and travel, and made it feel possible to understand all this through a Portland lens.
We want that same perspective to carry into the work we’re doing here as a newsletter, but we don’t take our space in your inbox lightly. I remove a lot of stuff from my inbox every day without thinking about it, but there’s a couple of newsletters I faithfully dive into, even look forward to. This is our greatest dream and hope for the issues to come here at Feast: to earn your time, avoid your deletion, and make a big hungry superbite together out of the most interesting things in food happening right now, all through a Portland perspective.
Introductions are always awkward so let’s briefly move on to the good stuff—by the second hang-out it’ll feel like we’ve known each other forever. You can learn a little more about me here, and follow me on Instagram here. If it’s alright to start, I’m going to order some stuff for the table.
What We’re Eating This Week
Profoundly influenced our friend @nomnom_nori to scarf these shrimp & garlic noodles at XLB… unable to shut up about the fried pompano “salad” (really an elaborate wrap scheme) at Earl Ninsom’s Phuket Café … very good dry aged steak from Snake River Farms as part of the dry aging program at The Meating Place out in Hillsboro, part of a big butcher shop round-up in route for a local publication of note … taking the edge off an otherwise stressful Friday with a glass of Division Winemaking Co. on-tap Gamay from St. Jack, consistently among the city’s top wine lists … outstanding pizza and baked goods at still-under-the-radar Taylor Street Kitchen in downtown … finally something has opened in the old Shift Drinks space, called City Bridge & Tunnel (heading there for happy hour later) … West African “Star” lager with peanut butter stew and a nice fluffy fufu at Akadi, reopened just last week to much excitement … Naomi Pomeroy makes the best ice cream in Portland right now at Ripe Cooperative, just ask my five-year-old (Ukrainian honey cake, Fluffernutter, Almond Joy, all exceptional) … a buzzy Friday night cuvee premier for indie winery Post Familiar, inside the NE Fremont location of Prince Coffee … Jordan dreams of Korean fried chicken at 1st Street Pocha … all dispatches formatted for the curious and hungry, please report tips to firstname.lastname@example.org