Beast’s Naomi Pomeroy—chef, organizer, and benefit brainstormer
Beast’s Naomi Pomeroy—chef, organizer, and benefit brainstormer

When tragedy strikes—here and beyond—Portland cooks are more generous than the Red Cross, endlessly donating their sweat and blood sausages to worthy causes.

I was struck by this notion once again recently, as menus and parties as far-flung as Simpatica Dining Hall, Coffeehouse Northwest, and the recently-shuttered Fratelli chipped in funds for survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Over at NE Killingsworth's Beast, Naomi Pomeroy rallied some of Portland’s top talents to collaborate on an epic, $250 dinner, with 100 percent of proceeds going to Mercy Corps' typhoon relief efforts.

Six courses, one serious cocktail, untold bottles of donated wines, a curated cheese plate (of course), and 29 diners later, the group raised $12,000. “We had to turn people away," said Expatriate’s Kyle Linden Webster, who kicked off the night with a drink spinning three kinds of vermouth with pear brandy. 

How did they pull it off on such short notice? Pomeroy and chefs from Paley’s Place, Ox, Ned Ludd, and Newberg’s Recipe contributed courses. “Everyone had two people,” says Vitaly Paley, who was joined in the kitchen by Paley’s Place chef de cuisine, Patrick McKee. “People brought everything to the table, including their right hand man. It was a real feeling of ownership.” 

Servers donated time. Cheese wiz Steve Jones added selections from his acclaimed Cheese Bar in SE Portland. Newberg chef Paul Bachand scoured Oregon’s wine country for donated magnums to auction at the table. “He was all over it,” says Webster. “He was awesome.” 

Another contributor: Portland photographer (and regular Portland Monthly contributor) Stuart Mullenberg, who generously shared his photos from behind the scenes. Here’s a peek at what he found.

Cooks for a cause: (front row, left ): Paul Bachand (Recipe), Greg Denton (Ox), Vitaly Paley (Paley’s Place, Imperial), Naomi Pomeroy (Beast, Expatriate), Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton (Ox), (back row, left): Kyle Linden Webster (Expatriate), Patrick McKee, (Paley’s Place), David Crabtree-Logan (Beast), Lucian Prellwitz (Ned Ludd)

You can pitch in, too! To contribute to Mercy Corp, donate at mercycorps.org.