Bill Wallender of Quaintrelle

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Bill Wallender is a self-taught cook, who credits many of his best attributes to past and present colleagues. As the chef of Quaintrelle he is eager to further his knowledge and passion for ingredient driven food and support a strong rapport with local farms and producers.  He has lived in the Pacific Northwest for the majority of his life and during his time in Portland, has cooked in some of the city’s best restaurants, Clarklewis, Little Bird Bistro and Ava Gene’s among them.  He honors both his grandmothers for first piquing his interest in working behind the stove as well as the garden to ensure everyone enjoys their meal.

What is your idea of a perfect meal?
My perfect meal is a simple dinner with loved ones, quality ingredients and good wine.

Bill Wallander and team

What recipe still gives you goosebumps?
The only recipes that give me goosebumps are ones too difficult or complex to complete in a couple days!

What cooking personality, living or dead do you most admire?
Gabriel Rucker and my now-passed grandmother Hildegard.

What’s a style of cooking foreign to you that you wish you had down?
I try to let the experts do the cooking that’s foreign to me. I don’t mess with a ton of Vietnamese or Chinese so I can enjoy it elsewhere!

Which ingredients do you find yourself using the most?
Ingredients I use the most are without a doubt good olive oil and vinegar.

What was your biggest culinary disaster?
My biggest culinary disaster was trying to bake whole wheat bread. I took some time off from cooking and decided to learn to bake. All was well until I couldn’t bake a loaf of whole wheat bread without it being a brick. After multiple tries I decided it was time to get back to work!

Jiro Dreams of Sushi. What food do you dream of?
I dream of traveling and having the opportunity to try food where it originated from.

What’s your most treasured kitchen tool?
My most treasured kitchen tool is either my chef’s knife or a spoon. Real exciting I know . . .

If you weren’t a chef, in what other occupation could you see yourself excelling?
If I weren’t a chef I’d like to work outside. That’s all I know.

Mario Batali has clogs. What’s your most marked characteristic?
I have red hair like Mario Batali.

What food do you hold in the lowest of regard?
I don’t appreciate TV dinners or supermarket canned vegetables.

What is the quality you most like in a chef?
I appreciate many qualities in a chef, but honesty, passion and humility are important. We aren’t landing planes and at some point you’re going to need to wash some dishes or take out the grease bucket. I also appreciate finesse.

What is the quality you most like in a diner?
I appreciate a diner who is open to try the menu the way it’s meant to be prepared. Also those who know how to eat a multi course meal and try a variety of dishes.

Chef Boyardee or Colonel Sanders?
Neither.

Who or what inspires you?
Farmers and their products inspire me. Without them we wouldn’t be here. Guests who leave happy and feel the need to thank the kitchen also inspire me to keep doing what we do.

How do you take your coffee?
Black.

What food trend drives you batty?
Trends I don’t enjoy involve everything being sous vide or automatic. I think it has it’s place, but also think it takes away from lessons cooks need to learn. I also don’t care for fussy plating or dots of sauce.

In-N-Out or Five Guys?
Bar Bar when in town, but In-N-Out since it’s not available 24/7 here.

Could you “beat” Bobby Flay?
I don’t want to beat anyone. Bobby Flay has obviously done well for himself.

Do you prescribe to any kitchen superstitions?
I can’t think of any kitchen superstitions. I believe if you are happy doing what you do people can taste it. I hate clutter and believe I can work better in a clean space.

What’s a childhood dish you loved that still sticks with you?
My family made a German food called Fleischkuechle. It’s my favorite food to this day. It’s basically ground beef and pork with a little bit of onion, salt and pepper wrapped in a quick dough and deep fried. What’s not to like?

What is your biggest cooking fear?
My biggest cooking fear is not being ready for service or running out of a dish an hour into service.

What do you cook on your off days?
I like making a simple roast chicken. Maybe brunch for me and my girlfriend.

Go-to guilty pleasure food?
Guilty pleasure food . . . just eating too much of something. I have a lot of “snackcidents.”

If you ate some poorly prepared blowfish sashimi and passed, what person or thing would you like to come back as?
No idea.

What is your catchphrase?
Still working on it.

Marcel Roost is a hyper-intelligent rooster who could out-write and out-cook the best of them. His love for haute cuisine is only matched by his hatred of Kentucky Colonels. When he's not heckling fusion chefs, he can usually be found at some high-end bar "singing the body Martini." He's anything but corn fed, despite being—well—corn fed.

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