First, You Make A Roux
Adhering to French Creole tradition, you melt a little butter, whisk in some flour and simmer, the longer the better. Dwayne Beliakoff’s bricks-and-mortar rendition has been cooking for years. His recipe:
You work the line at Zefiro. Bruce Carey promotes you to dining room manager of Bluehour, where you get an idea for a restaurant. You mention it to a chef (Vito DiLullo, now of Ciao Vito), who gifts you a rare 1920s gilded edition of The Picayune Cookbook. You brainstorm a business plan so promising that Carey and Bluehour executive chef Kenny Giambalvo sign on as partners. You secure a high-profile corner in the Brewery Blocks, but can’t drum up sufficient funding.
So you move to Minneapolis to open a 15,000-square-foot corporate restaurant and run it for nearly two years. You return to North Portland and rent a drapery factory in Overlook. You gut the building and carve out an elegant dining room that evokes the French Quarter with its remilled pine plank tables, hand-woven rattan chairs and wrought iron.
Then you lure Josh Blythe (Wildwood, Paley’s Place, Ripe) from Genoa to be your executive chef—and he brings his wife, Allison (Bluehour, Lucere, Genoa), to manage the front of the house. You educate your staff with a six-day movable feast in pre-Katrina New Orleans. You spend the summer testing recipes in your Arbor Lodge living room, pickling fruits and vegetables, smoking meats. Then one fall day, you throw open the doors.
Does it all smell intoxicatingly nutty? It should: That’s how you know the Roux is ready.