Portland chefs Anthony Cafiero (left) and Greg Denton compete at a past Wild About Game competition.

Image: Allison Jones

Nicky USA’s Wild About Game competition is the Pacific Northwest culinary face-off: four Portland chefs go head-to-head with four Seattle chefs on Mount Hood in a meaty showdown, featuring wild game such as quail, elk, wild boar, and rabbit. Like last year, the chefs will perform for several notable judges: Jordana Rothman, restaurant editor for Food & Wine, Kathleen Squires, a New York Times bestselling author, and Adam Callaghan, the editor of Eater Seattle. 

This Portland team is truly a force to be reckoned with, including Han Oak’s Peter Cho (our 2017 Restaurant of the Year) and Castagna’s Justin Woodward, a James Beard Award-nominated modernist powerhouse. Rounding out the team are two longstanding, celebrated Portland chefs, Trifecta Tavern's Chris DiMinno and Aviary's Sarah Pliner.

Ticket holders get access to the Artisan Marketplace, a sprawling bazaar of spirits, coffee, cured meats, sweets, and ice cream, as well as to the main events. This year, a new Maker’s Mark cocktail competition has been added. (Known fact: the best place to sip a cocktail is on Oregon’s tallest peak.)

The 18th annual competition falls on September 30, again at Resort at the Mountain in Welches, Oregon. Tickets ($75) are already on sale. Pro tip: they sell out fast.

Here’s the roster for 2018: 


Peter Cho, Han Oak

Chris DiMinno, Trifecta Tavern

Sarah Pliner, Aviary

Justin Woodward, Castagna


Alex Barkley, Manolin

David Nichols, Rider

Derek Ronspies, Le Petit Cochon

Aaron Willis, Ciudad Grill

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Editor’s Pick


$$ Asian 1733 NE Alberta St

At the always eclectic Aviary on NE Alberta Street in the Alberta Arts neighborhood, chef Sarah Pliner fuses Asian and western ingredients with style and whimsy.

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Trifecta Tavern

$$$ American, Bakery, Burgers 726 SE 6th Avenue

This Portland hangout from Ken Forkish on SE 6th Ave is a raucous combination of a cocktail bar, seafood restaurant, and bakery.

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$$$$ Dessert, Modern, Pacific Northwest 1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd

A culinary poet and dessert artist, chef Justin Woodward splices seasonal high points, technical feats, and concentrated sauces into spare compositions of st...

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Han Oak

$$ Korean 511 NE 24th Ave

An unmarked door at the end of a tiny parking lot in Northeast leads to a hidden restaurant space that doubles as chef/owner Peter Cho’s home, charming front...

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