James Beard Foundation announces 2013 award finalists
A Portland baker, three chefs and a sprinkling of local cookbooks were nominated Monday morning for James Beard Awards, the annual event often dubbed "the Oscars of food."
Ken Forkish of Ken's Artisan Bakery was the local headliner, watching his name come up twice, first in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category -- Portland's only national cooking nomination -- and again for his baking cookbook, "Flour Water Salt Yeast"
THE OREGONIAN: By Michael Russell
KEN FORKISH: AN INTERVIEW WITH THE MAN BEHIND THE BREAD
He runs two of Portland's most acclaimed eateries (Ken's Artisan Bakery, and Ken's Artisan Pizza -- where lines out the door are still routine nearly seven years in). His gold-standard breads grace the tables of many of the city's best restaurants. His celebrated cookbook, "Flour Water Salt Yeast," published last fall is currently in its fourth printing. With all that, you'd think Ken Forkish would be planning his retirement in the Cote d'Azur right about now.
Instead, this Silicon-Valley-software-engineer-turned-Portland-bread-baron is embarking on his third, most ambitious and most personal project this summer -- a baking atelier and "elevated tavern" dubbed Trifecta. We sat down with Forkish and talked about his plans for Trifecta, the simple luxury of an exceptional cheese toast, and why his very best pastry is the one right out of the oven....
THE OREGONIAN: Jen Stevenson
James Beard Award Finalist
Flour Water Salt Yeast is awarded as 2013 finalist for best bread book.
Already in it's 5th printing and riding high in AMAZON's top ten sellers for both bread books and pizza books. Take a look inside the book or read what AMAZON customers have to say. The Wall Street Journal: Food From Heaven—Or Very Nearly, and Corby Kummer of The Atlantic includes it in The Very Best Cookbooks of the Year.
“Ken nails it, end of story, when it comes to the best levain bread or the thinnest, most perfect pizza crust you’ve ever had. He has set the bar for Portland bakeries—that’s why we use his bread at Le Pigeon. For anybody looking to bake amazing bread at home, this book is a must-have.”
—Gabriel Rucker, chef/owner of Le Pigeon restaurant
“Ken Forkish is an artisan for our times, and the kind of ‘handcraft-it-yourself’ dreamer who makes Portland, Oregon, one of America’s top food destinations. This book is a handsome expression of his bread-baking vision: Forkish is a man unbound, obsessed by the science of fermentation, and excitedly sharing hard-won secrets and exacting recipes from his celebrated sourdough laboratory.”
—Karen Brooks, restaurant critic, Portland Monthly
"Legendary Portland baker Ken Forkish (of the watershed Ken's Artisan Bakery and much-loved Ken's Artisan Pizza) has joined the ranks of the lauded letterers with his mammoth new cookbook... "
"The hefty tome is packed with lush photography, Forkish's stories of his early days in California's artisan baking community and initial attraction to Portland's small, anti-industrial culinary craftsmen, a detailed description of a day in the life of an artisan baker, and (naturally) step-by-step recipes for easy-to-advanced loaves and Neopolitan-style pizzas worthy of worship, each adapted to the tools and techniques found in home kitchens."
—Portland Monthly/ EatBeat Blog
Forkish's instructions are clear, concise and incredibly precise... For true artisan bread lovers -- and homemade pizza fanatics -- this book sets a new standard."
—Oregonian, June 25, 2012
“Exceptionally detailed and clearly written with dedicated bakers in mind. . . . Cooks and students who are serious about the craft of bread baking will definitely want to check out this title.”
"Owner of Ken’s Artisan Pizza and Ken’s Artisan Bakery in Portland, Ore., Forkish begins by telling of the trials and tribulations of opening up shop. Divided into four sections (“The Principles of Artisan Bread,” “Basic Bread Recipes,” “Levain Bread Recipes,” and “Pizza Recipes”), with recipes broken down by breads made with store-bought yeast, breads made with long-fermented simple doughs, and doughs made with pre-ferments, the book presents recipes accessible to novices, while providing a different approach for making dough to experienced bakers. Plenty of step-by-step photographs, along with a chapter outlining “Great Details for Bread and Pizza,” make this slim work a rival to any bread-baking tome. A variety of pizza recipes, including sweet potato and pear pizza and golden beets and duck breast “prosciutto” pizza, (along with an Oregon hazelnut butter cookie recipe), end the title and inspire readers to put on the apron and get out the flour."
—Publishers Weekly, 6/4/2012
“Ken Forkish’s story is as unique, interesting, and delicious as his famous breads and pizzas. The man abandoned his past, courageously stepped off the cliff and followed his passion, and the result has been a gift to all of us: great breads, fabulous pizzas, and now this beautiful book—Flour Water Salt Yeast—in which he reveals all.”
—Peter Reinhart, author of Artisan Breads Every Day and The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking
“This fun book offers more than just top-quality bread. Flour Water Salt Yeast reveals all the formulas, processes, tips, and tricks Ken established in his years of experience as a professional baker. But most importantly, it teaches home bakers how to create their own bread using multiple schedules and ingredient combinations. Hey—all that without having to get up to bake in the middle of the night.”
—Michel Suas, founder of the San Francisco Baking Institute and author of Advanced Bread and Pastry
"For nearly a decade, Ken Forkish of Ken’s Artisan Bakery has been the undisputed champ of Portland’s bread scene. Apparently the greedy bastard just couldn’t be the best at one thing, so he had to go and open a pizzeria to swipe the title of Portland’s best pizza as well."
This Portland Food and Drink review captures the pizzeria very well.
Ken’s Artisan Pizza always places in the number one or two slot in our yearly reader survey for Best Pizza for good reason. #24 in top Portland Restaurants
French-style bread baker Ken Forkish helped lead Portland into pizza’s promised land in 2005 with experiments at his landmark Ken’s Artisan Bakery. By ’06, he’d spun his puffy-crusted wonders into their own restaurant, complete with a wood-fired oven, a serious Oregon-focused wine list, and a warm setting full of local salvage. Today, lines form by 4:45 for crust that’s toasty and dusky with a nice blush of char, a delicate tomato sauce, and a dozen restrained topping combos, like green garlic with Grana Padano and pecorino or homemade sausage with fiery chiles. Ken’s spicy soppressata truly elevates the art form, with joyful mouthfuls of crispy salami, wild heat, and smoky dough.
Portland Monthly Magazine
Ken's Margherita didn't disappoint. Befitting its bakery roots, Ken's crust is flavorful, crisp, and chewy. Whereas with many pizzas, you feel sort of an obligation to finish the crust even if it's bland (well, at least I do), you'd have no such problem with Ken's crust. It needs no embellishment, though it doesn't hurt to sop up any fallen sauce with these "pizza bones."
The Fennel Sausage, Onion, and Calabrian Chile Pizza was my favorite of the evening. With the strong Margherita base topped with excellent sausage and fiery chiles, how could you not love this thing?
And here's the oven where the magic happens. This thing is gigantic. I've never seen a wood-oven as big as this one.
seriouseats.com / Adam Kuban
James Beard Finalist
Ken Forkish of Ken's Artisan Bakery is a Jame Beard Award Finalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef
Portland's 2013 James Beard Award Finalists
Pomeroy, Whims, and Rucker represent Portland in the Best Chef Northwest category, while baking guru Ken Forkish carries the PDX banner with two nominations.
Ken’s Artisan Bakery’s Ken Forkish—a four-time semifinalist—is now officially in the running for Outstanding Pastry Chef... In addition to the four chef nominees, Portland is home to three cookbook award finalists, including a second award nomination for Ken Forkish (for his bread-centric tome Flour Water Salt Yeast).
Ken’s Artisan Bakery makes the best baguettes I’ve had anywhere outside of France
I admit it. I am a foodie. I am a wine snob. And…. I am a baguette fanatic.... Ken Forkish has mastered every possible French baked good. Others have too. But Ken Forkish has also mastered something that it seems almost no other Americans have mastered – PERFECT, TRADITIONAL, French breads; especially the baguette.
So why a baguette? That too is easy. If a great steak is like a Beethoven Symphony and a great cassoulet can be as epic as Wagner’s “Ring”, then a perfect, simple baguette with an underlying hidden complexity is a Bach cello suite. Sometimes I’m up for an epic but almost nothing is more enjoyable to me, after a long day at work, than a single malt scotch and a Bach cello suite. In that context, I’ll savor a Ken’s Artisan baguette, any day.
Bravissimo Ken Forkish!