In 1987, more than 30 years ago, a group of Portland-based culinary professionals gathered for an afternoon of brainstorming, envisioning a not-for-profit organization whose mission was to connect individuals working in the food industry. Through the dedicated work of volunteers a board of directors was elected, bylaws were established, and The Portland Culinary Alliance (PCA) was established as a legal not-for-profit entity.
The mission of the PCA is to provide educational programs and invaluable networking opportunities for chefs, educators, nutritionists, winemakers, entrepreneurs, cookbook authors,
food journalists, food photographers, culinary students, and others whose work and studies relate to the food and beverage bounty of the Pacific Northwest.
Throughout these past 25 years, the board of directors along with program committee members, have created monthly programs and networking events designed to meet members’ educational needs and curiosity about food trends and techniques. Tours, happy hours, author talks, cooking classes, farm tours, skill-building workshops and tastings enrich and grow the membership, along with strengthening the knowledge base of the community.
Examples of exceptional PCA programs include: A candy-making class with Jami Curl of Quin Candy; a hands-on cooking class learning to make kimchi with the owners of Choi’s Kimchi Company; a talk on ancient grains with cookbook author Maria Speck; a panel discussion with publicists and social media experts; a food writing symposium; an all-day culinary career seminar; and a tour of artisanal cheese makers in southern and central Oregon.
As a not-for-profit, these programs are offered to members at a reduced rate and are open to non-members as a way to grow the organization. Program fees cover the hosts’ costs plus a markup. Profits from these programs are used to cover the operating costs of the PCA.
As the Portland Culinary Alliance continues to grow and evolve, the organization is committed to its fundamental mission as well as seeking like-minded partnerships in order to raise funds for culinary scholarships.