At Beast, chef/owner Naomi Pomeroy changes the menu weekly, enhancing Portland’s bragging rights as one of the country’s most dynamic culinary scenes.
Indra Nooyi should meet Naomi Pomeroy. In a broadcast interview this summer, Nooyi, the charismatic CEO of PepsiCo, said women cannot do it all—referring to the delicate work-life balance that women strive to achieve.
Chef Pomeroy, 39, struggles with that work-life balance, as well, but this year’s James Beard Award winner of Best Chef Northwest, owner of Portland’s acclaimed Beast restaurant, and mother of a 14-year-old, appears to be doing it all—and then some.
To hear Chef Pomeroy tell it, she’s just a small-town girl (born and raised in nearby Corvallis, Oregon), who moved to the big city, opened a tiny restaurant, and began serving food that people really like.
Totally self-taught, the extent of her training was cooking three meals a day—all from scratch—with her mother. Now, in addition to leading Beast, Chef Pomeroy is running the food menu at Expatriate, her husband’s dynamic cocktail bar located across the street from Beast, and is actively engaged
in philanthropic ventures as well as raising awareness for social and environmental concerns. She’s also writing her first cookbook—but what she really wants is to find more family time so she can give her daughter some cooking lessons.
What is readily apparent about Chef Pomeroy is that every decision, both professional and personal, is made with astute contemplation and unwavering commitment to those things about which she is most passionate: family, food, philanthropy, and the continued success of her restaurant.
This is not a woman who (as she humbly suggests) simply got lucky by opening Beast in 2007, slightly ahead of the wave of chef-owned restaurants that converged on Portland, making it one of the nation’s premier food towns.