Andrew Mace, Portland, OR

Andrew Mace

The Feeder:

Andrew Mace

Seeders & Feeders They Support:

Groundwork Organics, Square Peg Farm, Ayers Creek Farm, Black Locust Farm, Frank Morton, CS Fishery

Their Story:

When we asked Andrew Mace to share his story as a chef he says “I always have to start with Burger King because that was my first kitchen job. I started in the belly of the beast”.

Andrew grew up in Billings, MT, hunting, fishing and preserving food with his family, as it was a way of life. His father was a civil engineer and city planner, having grown up experiencing the challenges of being in a restaurant family, he chose to go the other way. Andrew always admired his father for the energy and effort he put into his community, something that continues to be inspiration for him.

Andrew went to the University of Montana Missoula to pursue a BFA in Digital Design. To help pay for college, he worked in kitchens. His first cooking job (Burger King didn’t really count) was at the Old Post Pub. This is also where Andrew met his now longtime friend Doug Adams. They were both young and constantly pushed each other – “more in terms of speed than quality,” Andrew says. All the while, Doug and Andrew shared the desire to cook better quality food at some point.

Andrew graduated from college in 2008, right when the economy crashed; there were very few jobs in his field and even freelance seemed questionable. So he moved to Bozeman to work at a wine bar, which offered him some freedom to explore food in a higher quality setting and to start considering menus and flavor combinations.

A year later Andrew decided to take a leap and move to San Francisco. His friend Doug Adams had moved to Portland to go to culinary school and as Andrew was swinging through to visit, his car broke down. Not having the money to get it fixed, he took Doug’s advice to “just go stage around Portland” and see what he could find. His second stage was at Le Pigeon and he soon started a prep shift there, one day a week, while also working at Lincoln Restaurant full time. A year flew by and a full-time position opened at Le Pigeon that Andrew jumped on. “It felt as if it was meant to be,” he says.

The first generation of cooks from Le Pigeon all have a BT tattoo, which symbolizes an expression of chef/owner Gabe Rucker’s: “Born Titular”. If you are the titular sous chef then you are the perfect of example of what a sous chef should be. That’s Gabe’s standard, it’s titular, on point, the way it should be. – Andrew Mace

In 2013 Andrew started a side project called Ltd Co with Nora Antene (Little Bird, Le Pigeon and now Tusk). Ltd Co was a way for them to explore different styles of food from what they were doing in the restaurants.

Andrew left his position as sous chef at Le Pigeon in mid-2016 after more than 5 years, a time he is very grateful for.

“I feel more and more responsible to be a messenger, to be a tool for greater change by promoting not myself but where the food comes from. I want to champion higher quality food and the systems responsible” – Andrew Mace

Since leaving Le Pigeon, Andrew has done some work with Jacobsen Salt and Community Supported Fishery and is currently in the kitchen at Han Oak, a Korean-American restaurant. Andrew is an intelligent and thoughtful chef, passionate about local agriculture, community, alternative aquaculture and sustainable seafood. We look forward to seeing what project he will choose to sink his teeth into next.

What Seeders + Feeders Inspire:
Lane Selman of the Culinary Breeding Network: “I feel like I was lost in this food thing and I met Lane and it all started to make sense”
“Dan Barber has been a big influence with his vision for how food connects with restaurants.”
Carl Safina, author and biologist: “I always try to use him as a barometer to sift through the bullshit of sustainable seafood”

Advice to New Feeders:
Believe in your vision
Put yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s when you learn the most, when you fail.
Put yourself in a space where you know the least, you’ll make connections with really knowledgeable people.
Focus on your vision so clearly that there’s no way it can’t work.

Follow Andrew Mace:

Instagram @andrewevanmace

Twitter Badge @cookyourface