Justin Wills, Oregonian whiz chef.

 

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View in the Klamath mountains in South West Oregon

 

Oregon is now known as one of the most productive and innovative gastronomical states in not only the West Coast but all of the USA. It’s renowned for the care put into it’s food reflecting the unique products found there. It’s grass fed beef, lamb, and organic pork is well known by now. The pastures of rural Oregon offer a very rich food to the livestock feeding on them. This is one part of why the meat coming from such rancher owned facilities such as Country Natural Beef has such a lively taste and high quality. The sun and humidity of many areas in Oregon offer very rich land from which the excellent Oregon cuisine emerges. This is why today, some chefs stand out by their body of work that has contributed to the deliciousness of the state that flies with her own wings.

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Justin Wills has become one of the best chefs of the U.S.A by taking into account all that the wilderness of his beautiful state has to offer. His first restaurant focused on getting almost all of it’s ingredients from Lincoln County agriculture and fishery and he completed the list with wild edible plants gathered by himself personally.

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Ulva lactuca (sea lettuce)

Periodically, he goes out in the woods and on the shores around Whale Cove. As his restaurant is situated on the shoreline of Depoe Bay, the town where the excellent restaurant Beck is, as well as the world’s smallest harbor. One very important part of his culinary focus is the marine flavour of this area.This is why he almost always gathers marine plants such as salicornia and ulva lactuca (sea lettuce) and many others, to incorporate their iodine trace in his surf concertos that are many of his dishes.

As well as taking care to reflect the terroir of where the kitchen is situated, chef Wills also cooks in a way highly sensitive to the seasons. This is why in the mushroom rich end of summer and autumn, as an avid connoisseur of wild mushrooms, he incorporates the amazingly varied tastes and textures of the wild mushrooms found in the pristine woodlands of the county. These marry themselves perfectly with game and the locally grown vegetables he gathers in the freshest way possible. Even oak moss finds it’s way into the plate when it is appropriate to let such wild stars of the neighbouring ecosystem speak in one of his signature dishes.

 

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Whale cove. Photo credit: Bryce Buchanan

After working most of his professional life in very reputable oregonian kitchens in cities such as Oregon, Justin Wills finally opened the now famous and triple diamond rated Restaurant Beck in 2009 at the Whale Cove inn. He is constantly pursuing a gastronomical education he received at an early age in his Italian family, especially from his grandmother. This has brought him to earn many distinctions and even to open a new restaurant in Portland: Sorella, an italian restaurant always focused on the artisanal handmade way of preparing food as art.

Justin Wills is one true pillar of what makes the taste of Oregon. He single handedly helped build what is now the reputation of Oregon as the next american culinary wonder. This puts his restaurant in a position to partner with some of the amazing vineyards there are in the state, and help them shine their unique flavours unto the public. His care taken into beautifying the signature of local gastronomy with local and wild treasures found in it’s vicinity has been a great help in creating the current popularity of the state’s hospitality and food industry.

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