Market Chef : David Farrell
Hey! Have you guys been to Cabezon yet? Because it seems to have flown under the radar a bit, and it’s really not to be missed. Your loyal blogger has long lamented the lack of a good seafood-devoted restaurant in this town, and feels like a bit of a dolt for not knowing about Cabezon until interviewing the Chef, David Farrell, this very week. It was a big life moment for moi.
Moving along, Chef David Farrell is a pretty mellow guy. Soft-spoken and often silent, expressing himself more through food than words, Farrell is clearly a thoughtful guy for whom cooking, serving and eating food of the highest quality is of singular importance. He is quick to mention that his restaurant doesn’t serve any farmed fish, everything that they serve is wild caught and sustainable. As we talk about his background, his path toward Chef-ery, it becomes clear how and why he can be at once so clearly and deeply passionate and soft spoken and almost casual about his obvious commitment to local, sustainable foods. “My mother was a pretty good cook – not like homemade stock boiling on the back of the stove, but a good cook. She kept a small garden, but my Grandfather’s garden put ours to shame. We would have huge family dinners out there. I remember picking out our corn and shucking it right there, just minutes after picking it, fresh from the garden. We’d eat 5 or 6 cobs each and basically call it dinner. I always got to plant things in our gardens too, maybe a few rows.”
Farrell followed this idyllic childhood with work in the front of the house in various restaurants through high school and college, but he says he always felt jealous of the chefs’ skill sets. After a while, he made the decision to drop out of college and pursue life in the kitchen, beginning at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. After graduation, he continued his education in Provence, where he fell in love with the way that local produce was treated in the Provencal cuisine – simply and reverently.
Eventually he found his way out to the states, working in high profile kitchens around the country. Portland called to him when he felt ready to open his own restaurant – “in Portland, it’s possible to open a restaurant without a huge corporation behind you” – and we’re so lucky he did! Come on down to the market this Sunday and see Chef Farrell in action!
See you at the market!