Normally, we introduce you to one chef at a time.

Today, we’re introducing you to three.

That’s just the way things work at Aviary. Located in the Alberta arts district of Northeast Portland, Aviary boasts three co-chefs: Sarah Pliner, Jasper Shen, and Kat Whitehead. Together they create a brilliant and eclectic menu of small plates, all locally sourced and inspired. There isn’t one dominant presence, rather, each chef is reflected equally throughout the menu. It’s a true collaboration.

So, it stands to reason that they’d approach a Q&A the same way. We sent over the questions, and we got answers from all of them. (It’s a bit of a puzzle, deciphering who is answering any given question…but that’s half the fun of it!)

We’re lucky enough to have Sarah, Jasper and Kat join us on the farm at Pauleé on Saturday, July 29th. They’ll be cooking alongside Daniel Mondok of Pauleé, with wine pairings by Antica Terra. (Yes, the restaurant has its own farm!) It’s going to be a magical night and there’s just a handful of tickets left for this event, so get them while you still can!

And, of course, read below to learn more about Jasper, Kat, and Sarah!

1. How did you end up cooking at your present restaurant/kitchen? We got lost on the way to Salt & Straw

2. What’s the first food you remember loving as a kid? Artichokes.

3. What edibles are you growing in your own home garden? Shiso, lovage, tomatoes, leeks, strawberries, apples, beets. (I have a big garden.)

4. What’s your most trusted piece of kitchen equipment? Why? The Vitamix [blender], we use it about 20 times a day.

5. What’s your most disturbing guilty pleasure food? Big Macs.

6. Most tried and true hangover cure? A Diet Coke and a long walk…

7. Favorite band/artist to listen to while cooking? ABBA

8. Most disturbing kitchen-related injury…what happened? A stack of plates fell on Kat’s head, one broke and sliced her elbow to the bone. It bled a lot.

9. What would you eat for your last supper? Spicy Thai food.

10. What food/farm-related issue are you most passionate about or gets you really steamed? I have issues with the hypocrisy of the whole locavore movement. Why? I hate liars.

11. What vegetable or fruit deserves more respect/love in your opinion? Cabbage.

12. Why are you cooking at Plate & Pitchfork? It was fun last year, and we like collaborating with other chefs.

13. Complete this sentence: “If I weren’t a chef I’d be a social worker.

14. What’s your favorite condiment? (And/or, take a picture of yourself with your favorite condiment.) We’d take a picture of the three of us with a bottle of Sriracha, but you might print it somewhere and we photograph horribly…


Go! Sarah, Jasper and Kat join Chef Daniel Mondok from Pauleé Restaurant out on the farm at Pauleé. Wine pairings by Antica Terra. 5:00pm, Sunday, July 29th. $125 per person. Details and reservations can be found here.