Friday, March 28, 2008

Table For Twelve: The 'How Many Beignets Can YOU Eat in One Sitting' Edition!

Dear Friends Who Love Food,

It's snowing outside as I write this, so it makes perfect sense that our next Table For Twelve is going to be held at Roux, where we hope to heat up with some spicy hot Creole cuisine!

I called Roux yesterday and spoke directly to Executive Chef Sean McKee, who was kind enough to make room for us next week and also answer a few questions. But before you read our interview with Chef McKee, my sister said I have to give you the details of dinner, "just in case people nod off before finishing your long-winded emails," (whatever!). So here you go:

Details, Details

When: Wednesday, April 2, 7 pm

Where: Roux Restaurant, 1700 N Killingsworth Street

Why: Because we all need something spicy right about now. I mean, it's snowing.

RSVP: Via our email address (


And now,'s interview with Roux Executive Chef Sean McKee.

Jen: How long has Roux been open?
Sean: Three years in October.
Jen: My birthday is in October. (Please take note, dear readers.)
Sean: Hmm.
Jen: What is your culinary background?
Sean: I'm classically trained in French cooking, I worked at Café Zenon in Eugene, then came to Roux. I've been with them since they opened.
Jen: I think most of us aren't necessarily that familiar with Cajun/Creole food. What can we expect?
Sean: Traditionally, with French Creole cooking, what comes to mind is definitely a lot of spices. There's lots of pork and cayenne and heat and corn and chicken. I'd like to say it's comfort food, down-home, traditional cooking. And I make all my own bacon, sausages, and tasso in-house, from scratch.
Jen: What's tasso?
Sean: Cured ham, usually on the spicy side.
Jen: I love ham. So will we see anything unusual on your menu, like alligator?
Sean: Right now our game items are the stuffed rabbit, confit duck…I have done more obscure stuff in the past, like gator, and turtle soup.
Jen: Is it really true that alligator tastes like chicken?
Sean: It does a little bit. It definitely has the same texture.
Jen: What's the best drink to accompany Cajun/Creole food? Wine, beer, straight bourbon?
Sean: Depends. We have a wide variety of house cocktails--Molly the bartender does a great job of pairing drinks. We have a pretty extensive wine list. For myself, with a nice spicy dish I like a good crisp pilsner. We get some of our beer from Amnesia Brewing, most of our wine purveyors are from Oregon, Washington, and France.
Jen: Where do you get your meat/produce from?
Sean: All our beef and free-range chicken is from Oregon, our beef is Painted Hills or Strawberry Mountain. We have probably 30 different produce purveyors we use in the summer, all our fresh oysters usually come from the West Coast, we get scallops from the East Coast, we get our crawfish imported from Louisiana.
Jen: Britney Spears is imported from Louisiana too. How do you feel about this Britney situation, do you think she can make a comeback?
Sean: I hope she does.
Jen: So do we. So what's the most beignets you've eaten in one sitting?
Sean: Um, of ours, probably not more than four or five, they are pretty big and filling…each one is like a full doughnut. We did have a guy in the kitchen eat 14 or 15 hush puppies in 20 minutes, for a bet.
Jen: That's intense.
Sean: Uh-huh.
Jen: Right, okay. So have you ever met Chef Tom Colicchio? From Top Chef?
Sean: No I haven't met him.
Jen: Okay. So…anything else we should know about you and Roux?
Sean: I was named Best New Chef in January by the St. Johns Sentinel, so that was a nice little attribute.
Jen: Definitely, that's great. How old are you?
Sean: 27
Jen: Are you single?
Sean: No.
Jen: All right, well thanks so much for your time Sean, and we look forward to seeing you next week!
Sean: Great, we'll take good care of you guys.

So there you have it everyone! Super nice Roux Executive Chef Sean McKee is going to take good care of us and dish up some magnificent down-home Creole cooking! Come with us to Roux Wednesday night for the "Table For Twelve at Roux: The 'How Many Beignets Can YOU Eat in One Sitting' Edition!", where even if the weather outside is still frightful, the spicy nosh and atmosphere and beignets and regrettably un-single Chef Sean McKee will be delightful!

See You at the Table,

Jen & Michelle

Table For Twelve is Jen & Michelle's earnest effort to Cultivate Convivial Consumption amongst food-lovers great and small across Portland. For more information about Table For Twelve, go to

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