Original People: Christopher Paquette

Original People: Christopher Paquette Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In January, The Original welcomed a  new sous chef, Christopher Paquette, an Oakland, California native who has been seeking a way to permanently settle in Portland ever since visiting here a few years back.

If you’ve ever tried one of our ever-changing daily dinner fish specials, you’re probably familiar with his work. A graduate of California Culinary Academy in San Francisco (where he was, coincidentally, the classmate of The Original’s other sous chef, Brian Landry), Christopher has spent the last 17 years in classrooms and kitchens along the West Coast.

Having in that time learned various traditional cooking techniques from around the world, Christopher has lately found inspiration in the locally sourced, organically-grown and artisanal movements.

Most recently, he spent more than four years the sous chef at Wente Vineyards in Livermore, California, where he helped determine each night’s courses while strolling the restaurant’s garden, which is home to a community of chickens and a colony of honey bees.

But he says he’s finally found a home in Portland, with its proud locavore heritage, and which he and his wife deemed the ideal location to properly and safely raise their daughter (3) and two sons (8 and 1).

“I guess I’m unusual in that I have kids. Most people who work in kitchens don’t have kids,” he says, pausing, pregnantly, “At least not any they know of.

“Anyway, we visited here and fell in love with it, and we did everything we could to move up here, and we never want to leave,” he says.

When he’s not at work making sure your food is properly made in a timely fashion, you’ll probably find him (if you know where he lives) at home playing music with his wife (he’s a guitarist and drummer, she’s a pianist and plays the clarinet), accompanied on percussion by their little ones.

Next time you’re in for dinner, pay your compliments to the (sous) chef by choosing that night’s fresh fish special.