Jenn Louis loves to travel: she’s globetrotted her way through Europe, North America, South America, and even spent a few months on a dairy kibbutz in Israel. The food she cooks is just as adventurous and wide-ranging—which is why hummus and labneh sneak onto the menu with bucatini, cavatelli, and seasonal Pacific Northwest fruits and vegetables at her Portland establishment, Lincoln Restaurant. Of course, that menu changes almost every day, based on what’s fresh and looking good at the market. Diners might move from a starter of grilled octopus to a main dish of delicata squash with tahini and hazelnuts before finishing with popcorn panna cotta: a trip from the Pacific Northwest to Italy by way of Israel, but with a distinctive American accent.
Named one of Food & Wine's "Best New Chefs" in 2012, Louis has competed on Bravo's Top Chef Masters and has earned two nominations for the James Beard award (“Best Chef: Northwest”). Louis’s debut cookbook, Pasta by Hand, shows off her mastery of delicious pastas and sauces to match. Recently, she’s decided to explore her love of Middle Eastern food in depth by focusing on Jewish fare like challah, brisket, and latkes, all with her signature style of straightforward sophistication.
Louis prizes restraint and control in cooking: “I don’t like too many ingredients or ideas jammed together,” she said to Food & Wine. “You lose the individual ingredients; they can’t be appreciated.” Accordingly, her Panna recipes are faithful, simple renditions of classics, but delicious enough to wow restaurant-goers and dinner party guests alike.