Why We Love Naomi Pomeroy
Naomi is a hardcore chef who can make any meal taste like home. She’s a fierce, self-taught risk-taker who will encourage you and push you to try something new.
In her debut cookbook, Taste & Technique, Naomi says she fell in love with cooking through the adrenaline rush that came from acting on your feet. “It was totally addictive.”
“In my kitchen I’ve always said to everyone very, very explicitly: We need to have fun while we’re working.”
How you run your restaurant is very important to you. Why do you think this matters?
A big part of our day has to be communicating with each other, getting to know each other as a team, hanging out, talking, being together. And then we start doing dinner service. So a lot of the day is spent just talking about family, and relating to each other, and telling jokes, and talking about some show that we watched, or whatever. And I think that translates into the diner’s experience.
Beast is obviously a labor of love. Can you talk about why you made like you did?
We have 26 seats, and we just do two seatings a night. It’s at 6:00 and 8:45, and it’s all one menu, a set menu with six courses. I only made two big, long communal tables at Beast because that was the best way to get the highest number of seats into the restaurant. And that was really the only solution. Actually, everything that Beast is was born of necessity.
Why did you decide to have a set menu?
Look, what should you do when you go out to any restaurant? Ask the chef what they would eat if they were eating here, because they know what’s happening. They know what’s best. We’re creative people, and we change the menu every two weeks, so we just have the things that we want to eat at that time. We want to touch that product, and make that food for you, and share it with you. So it’s partially selfish, but it’s partially about what is best in that moment.
Why do you love Japan?
Japan and Portland have a really strong love affair with each other. From the coffee to the whiskey to the music vinyl culture, it starts to become a chicken-and-the-egg type thing. Japan is also starting to get these little food cart pods and farmers markets are exploding there. It’s just so fucking Portland.
How have you evolved as a chef?
My cooking has changed a lot over the years. As a really young cook I felt like I wanted to get all of the flavors into a dish. That’s the sign of young cooking. It’s not necessarily wrong. That's actually why chefs love Asian food: so much of it has hot, sour, salty and sweet all in the same dish. But at this point, Beast has really taught me a lot about balancing within a menu rather than trying to balance within a dish.
How do you think Beast has been able to stay so relevant?
Oh god, I don’t know. Not being relevant is probably my darkest fear. Some people have critiqued Beast as being the same experience every time you go. I think that’s an interesting and kind of charming critique, but it’s severely ignorant. We never make the same thing twice. Eating a multi-course meal in the same space could feel like a similar experience, but we’re always pushing ourselves to do new things.
Explore Upcoming Trips with our Tastemakers
Switzerland with Elias Cairo
A seven-day journey through Switzerland with charcuterie expert Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions. Marvel at the raw majesty of the Swiss Alps. Explore medieval castles and quiet mountain inns. Drink little-known Swiss wines rarely available the world over and celebrate the ancient art of salumeri with one of the world’s true experts.
Mexico City with Patrick Ryan
Aztec pyramids loom below you, hovering in a hot-air balloon in the skies outside the Western Hemisphere's biggest city. With chef Patrick, a lively guy who stresses community and fun, we go ringside at a wrestling match, boat down ancient canals, meet graffiti artists and dine on Patrick's feast in our penthouse suite in hip Condesa. Get ready for fun!
Rep. of Georgia with Bonnie & Israel Morales
Seven days in the Caucasus Mountains with culinary pioneers of foods of the former Soviet Union. We'll learn to make khinkhali (dumplings), stomp grapes as part of some of the world's oldest wine traditions, hike to mountain-top churches, and master the Georgian art of toasting.