Cooking with Chef Cathy Whims of Nostrana and Oven & Shaker
About the Chef: Cathy Whims holds a long-time love affair with Italy and jokes that she’s become somewhat of a “born again Italian”. During her extensive travel in her adopted homeland, she constantly searches for ways to bring back the rich Italian culture to her community in Portland. Cathy believes one way to do that is by celebrating the lush and beautiful farmland around Portland in her restaurants. And in her visits to these local farms, she is always reminded of the excitement of growing vegetables and fruit and loves to share that excitement with her customers. To Cathy, nothing is more enriching than bringing farm knowledge and experience to the table so her customers can benefit from it too.
Cathy was the executive chef at Genoa and then became an owner. During that time, she was inspired to open her own restaurant and in 2006 she opened Nostrana, a rustic Italian restaurant. Nostrana specializes in the regional cuisines of Italy using ingredients provided by many of the best farmers, cheese makers, and meat producers in the Northwest. In the first year of business the restaurant was named Restaurant of the Year by the Oregonian. Her deep-rooted love for Italy has brought on her newest adventure, Oven & Shaker. In this new restaurant, she is excited to work side-by-side with world-renowned mixologist, Ryan Magarian and they draw inspiration from each other to design a menu that is both playful and delicious. Oven & Shaker highlights Italian street-food and wood oven fired pizza paired with the expertise and craft of fresh, whimsical, and classic cocktails.
Cathy has been recognized for her talent by the James Beard Foundation and is a three-time nominee in the Best Chef category for 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Photo copyright John Valls. Used by permission