Our Team

Our Team Monday, October 10, 2016

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The Original Dinerant, Portland, OR

One of the things that we cherish the most at The Original is our team. Every dish, drink and special comes from the hands and hearts of our cooks and servers and management – and it doesn’t happen overnight. There is so much planning, prep and inspiration that comes well before our guests enjoy their food and drink.

Our kitchen family at The Original is led by Executive Chef, AJ Voytko. Chef Voytko is a leader in every sense and manages a kitchen crew of over twenty hard-working and driven team members. As a dad AJ knows the important balance between working hard and having fun on his days off – one of his favorite places around town to visit on his days off are Tasty & Sons, Tailor Railworks and Syun Izikaya. Part of the fun of being in a kitchen is the extended family in the Portland community so it’s always a pleasure for Chef to visit his colleagues and friends for a great meal at these fantastic spots.

Chef AJ is always inspired by his favorite dishes and you can see it reflected on the delicious menu at The Original. One of his favorite foods is duck confit – duck confit is a traditional French dish upon which “confit” is a fancy way of saying “cooking in its own fat”. Chef AJ has brought this favorite of his and put a twist on it with our Confit Chicken and Jalapeno and Tillamook Cheddar Waffles. This decadent yet simple technique makes The Original’s version of chicken and waffles something different and unique.

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A favorite breakfast dish at home and at any restaurant is soft cheesy polenta with poached eggs or a custardy French toast. He and the kitchen are able to bring some of this richness to the menu at The Original with their version of Polenta Cakes with smoky bacon and maple syrup. It’s like a mashup of his two favorite dishes!

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If he had to choose, scallops and pork would probably win out as some of his favorite food items and we love when he creates seasonal dishes featuring either of the two. At dinner he features a juicy, bone-in pork chop that is the perfect dish for Fall.

While favorite foods inspire Chef AJ it always comes back to the friends, family and farmers in AJ’s life that bring him constant inspiration. We are looking forward to see what special is going to pop up on our menu soon!

Chef AJ is from New York and Wyoming and was the owner of a food truck “Knuckle Dragger” that was a100% paleo cart on wheels.  He’s the former Chef of Three Degrees here in Portland and lived and worked in San Diego for 7 years. He has sold out the James Beard House in NY and hosted 2 James Beard Dinners himself.