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This past September Room & Board Portland teamed up with Bon Appétit to create an outdoor lounge space for guests to enjoy at Feast Portland food festival. Keep reading to learn more about “the best food festival in the country,” from VP of Marketing at Condé Nast, Tara Mason.

What is Feast Portland and how did it come to be?

Feast Portland is one of the most original, inventive food festivals—period. Chefs, winemakers, brewers, farmers, artisans and makers from all over the world converge in one of the most creative American cities for a long weekend full of hands-on classes, thought-provoking panels, intimate dinners and festival-format tastings.

The festival was started in 2011 and Bon Appétit has been involved since the beginning. We see the event as a true incubator of what’s next in food.

As a native Oregonian, I also think it’s worth noting that Feast Portland has donated over $550,000 towards Partners For A Hunger-Free Oregon and Urban Gleaners to combat food insecurity in the region.

Bon Appétit tent at Feast Portland

Thrillist named Feast Portland “the best food festival in the country.” What makes it so great?

What makes Feast stand out in a sea of food experiences is their intelligent curation of chef talent. The incredible team behind the festival take pains to secure a diverse mix of change-makers. Every year, I get emails from chefs (and our own Bon Appétit editors) asking if I can put in a good word or secure them a spot on the lineup.

Do you have a favorite memory from the festival?

This year, we collaborated with an amazing local artist, Anna Joyce, to custom tie dye Bon Appétit swag at The Big Feast. Our build-out had an amazing “Modern Maritime” concept because it was the first year that Feast threw their biggest signature event down at the waterfront. We had Pacific Seafood giving oyster shucking lessons. Room & Board provided on-theme furniture and décor so people could relax in our space. All around, it was good food and great vibes.

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten at Feast Portland?

That’s an EXTREMELY hard question since this year was my fifth time attending! My husband is also a chef who has participated so I may get in trouble for not shouting out his creations buuuuut…Bad Saint in Washington D.C. came out this year for Bon Appétit Best New Restaurants dinner and I’m still thinking about their purple radish and coconut crema dish.

Do have any advice for first time Feast goers?

Bring your best stretchy pants.

DJ booth at Feast Portland

What are some of your favorite restaurants in Portland?

In no particular order: Maurice, Ha VL, Jackrabbit PDX, Matt’s BBQ Tacos, Ava Gene’s.

What makes a meal memorable?

For me, it boils down to emotion. My most cherished meal memories revolve around human connections—whether that’s celebrating something special with family and friends or being able to feel how much creative energy and love that a chef put into a specific dish or recipe. Food is nourishment on so many different levels.

What’s currently on your radar that ISN’T related to food? Book, Netflix, podcast ….. can be anything.

Literally every single person in my orbit knows that I am obsessed with Dolly Parton. I had about 50 different individuals reach out to me about the newish podcast series “Dolly Parton’s America.” And I love it as much as they knew I would.

The next festival is a year away, but where can people learn more or get involved?

Visit our website and follow us on Instagram.

Photos by @bonappetitmag

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