Cooking with Portland Chef Ken Gordon

Questions? Contact, 503.552.1517

A Healthy Holiday Primer

November 20, 2013
Wednesday Evening, 6 –8 p.m.

Thanksgiving and the December Holidays are the most delicious time of year, but also a time usually accompanied by over-indulgence. Ken and students will prepare a host of dishes to complement the Turkey or Roast, ones that will tip the proverbial scales in your favor.

Delicious dishes will include Virtuous Egg Nog, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto, New Wave Mashed Potatoes, Wild Rice and Chestnut Stuffing, Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes to name a few.


Ken Gordon Bio
A native of New York City, Ken Gordon took a childhood love of good food and turned it into a widely traveled and acclaimed career as a chef. Although his initial career plan included law school, after graduation from Beloit College, where he received a BA in Political Science, he turned instead to more satisfying pursuits, working his way through restaurants in Boston and the San Francisco area.  Mr. Gordon then moved to Paris for 2 ½ years, attending the prestigious La Varenne Ecole De Cuisine—gathering his Grande Diplome—and working afterward at several of the prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants.

For 18 months while at La Varenne Ecole, Mr. Gordon taught classes and assisted in the teaching of ongoing and master classes, as well as translating from French into English for the English-speaking students. At the same time, he was the chef on a hotel-barge in Burgundy.

After returning to New York City in 1984, Mr. Gordon worked at several celebrated restaurants, including The Quilted Giraffe, Le Chantilly and Café Luxembourg. Later he served as creative chef for Washington St. Café Caterers. In 1987 he opened his own restaurant, the critically acclaimed French bistro, L’Ecluse, which he closed in 1990 when he moved to Portland, Ore.

Mr. Gordon found fertile ground in Portland for his personal style of big flavors and eclectic comfort food. He opened the pioneering 28 East, then the trend-setting take-out shop, Ken’s Home Plate, which in 2003 morphed into the small neighborhood bistro, Ken’s Place. It was here that he began smoking meats, first producing Portland’s best barbecued meats, followed by artisan wood-smoked pastrami. Word of mouth spread, creating great demand for Mr. Gordon’s culinary artistry. In 2007 he opened Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen in downtown Portland. Kenny & Zuke’s has attracted a huge local following as one of Portland’s hottest restaurants, and has drawn national attention and awards as one of the nation’s best practitioners of the lost art of the Jewish delicatessen.

In 2008, Mr. Gordon opened a second location—Kenny & Zuke’s Sandwich Works, which has now moved into Bagelworks—Kenny & Zuke’s first foray into bagel shops. In September 2012, his third location—Kenny & Zuke’s Deli Bar. In addition, Kenny & Zuke’s now offers bagels wholesale at a number of Portland grocery venues, including Whole Foods. From 1996 to the present, Mr. Gordon has also been teaching cooking classes at In Good Taste, a cooking school in the Pearl District.  

In January of 2012, Mr. Gordon was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Within 48 hours, he was hired by The Oregonian to write his now popular weekly column, “Diary of a Diabetic Chef.” Working with naturopathic physician, Dr. Marty Milner, Mr. Gordon has reversed the course of his diabetes. Together they will be the keynote speakers at the American Diabetes Association annual convention in May 2013.

Mr. Gordon lives in Portland with his wife Leslee Lewis, and two children, Clare, a professional baker, and Graham, an engineering student at Harvey Mudd College.


Healthy Holiday Primer, Nov. 20, 2013


Questions? Contact, 503.552.1517

Upcoming classes

All cooking classes are held at
Charlee's Kitchen located in the NCNM Helfgott Research Institute and Community Education Center
2220 SW First Avenue, Portland, Oregon
Map and directions