Our employees are the true strength of the business, and we are committed to their well being and growth. Provvista is family-owned and operated, and we strive to provide a culture that allows our people to be themselves, with all the complexities each brings to the table.
Favorite Product: La Vecchia BALSAMIC CONDIMENT, 30TH ANNIV., CL
There are balsamics, such as the La Vecchia Dispensa 30th Anniversary vinegar, and San Giacomo Red Seal Tradizionale for good friends. I always have Champagne Vinegar from Beaufor and Badia Red Wine Vinegar. The oils I stock are the Provvista 3 litre and Dauro from Spain, and for finishing a dish I have the Italian and Sicilian oils: Pianogrillo, Laudemio or Olio Verde. Oregon’s Sacred Sea Tuna and Grisini-Bon bread sticks (kids love them). Pasta, Pasta, Pasta! My son, Liam, will have my head if I am out of pasta. His favorite is the Maccaroncello and Lumachine from Sapori di Napoli. Also a must-have is Rustichella’s Penne Rigate and Bucatini. In the fridge are Scalia anchovies, Mulino Marino polenta, Parmigiano Reggiano (especially from the Val Parmossa farm 3100, which is aged over a year and a half). We always have some Cave-aged Gruyere, and Burrata from California’s Angelo and Franco. And finally, now that it’s summer, the fridge is loaded with Fever Tree tonic to mix with a little gin.
In His Own Words
I am a native Oregonian, fifth-generation, born and raised here in Lake Oswego / SW Portland, the seventh of eight children. I credit my love of all things culinary to my parents: Joseph, a salesman and Barbra, a nurse.
The family meal was an important part of my growing up; it was always homemade, from scratch. Mom would cook lamb, salmon, or maybe a pot roast. I remember being jealous of kids who had TV dinners from the freezer. I complained about having to set the table and having to wait until everyone was through eating before being excused to run off and play. We never got those silver trays with compartments of peas, Salisbury steak and cherry pie, so thanks Mom.
Though my father referred to cheese as “rat food,” he managed to always have Tillamook extra sharp around for us kids. When I was very young, I remember playing hot wheels under my Mom’s feet as she watched the Galloping Gourmet (the TV cooking show with Graham Kerr). She would follow along cooking some of the recipes, and I was the guinea pig, lucky me!
My mother also took French cooking instruction from a chef in Lake Oswego and my father later in life took a Chinese cooking class. Our traditional holiday dinners grew as my sisters married or friends came over during college. A memorable Thanksgiving dinner included 26 people and two birds. My father was the consummate party host and my mother ran the kitchen with deft skill. I am pretty sure there were holiday dinners where she didn’t sleep the day before.
Summer was filled with camping and cooking outdoors. We picked berries, made jam, pickled, and canned pears – traditions my mother still carries on today. My mom baked berry pies too. She would say, “If you pick enough blackberries for two pies, you can have one all to yourself.” With seven brothers and sisters, something of your own was big motivation. I would battle the bramble and yellow jackets to fill two of the large Folgers Coffee cans with wild Oregon blackberries. The funny thing was I always ended up sharing that pie with the rest of the family. The fact that my mom said it was mine was reward enough.
My father taught me to fish for trout in the summer at Mt. Hood, and in the winter and spring, we fished for Chinook on Nestucca River and crabbed in the Alsea and Netarts bays. If we weren’t camping or hiking, I spent my summers playing baseball and skateboarding like crazy.
I would discover my lifelong love (or obsession, my wife might say), of track and field during the 1968 Olympics, when I watched Kip Keino beat the great Jim Ryan in the 1500 meters, on TV. I was hooked, dropped playing basketball, football and baseball shortly thereafter, and started to run.
After high school, I spent a short time in Boulder, Colorado. I worked my way from busing tables to the kitchen as a prep cook. Eventually, I learned to cook on a line in a restaurant in Boulder during the day and DJ at night in a club. I met my wife, Catherine, in Boulder as well. As beautiful as Colorado was, I missed the ocean. So I returned to Oregon to go to art school in Portland. Catherine would join me in 1985.
I started working at Bridgeport Brewery in 1986, where my friends and fellow Provvista employees, Tim Bosworth and Bill Jones, would eventually work as well. I had a short stint in Dundee with the Ponzi family (founders of Bridgeport) getting their wine bar off the ground in 1999, then I came to Provvista in 2001 shortly after my daughter was born.
I learned to cook from both my parents at an early age, and my father believed everyone should cook. I pass that tradition on to my young children now, teaching them how to make fresh pasta and prepare clams, and cook on a grill. My daughter Claire and I made cheese this year, and she was a hit at the third-grade science fair with fresh mozzarella and Maldon salt.
Provvista is a wonderful family of people to work with; Joe and Karen Guth set the tone with their remarkable generosity and their infectious passion for food. We are a big family of individuals all with a common love – food; it reminds me of home.
Little-Known Facts About Me
* I met my wife in a bar, 27 years ago. We’ve been married 22 years.
* I once ran a lap around the track with Steve Prefontaine.
* I’ve seen U2 in concert 13 times.
* My mom really thought I would be a Priest.
* I have had two former roommates who both summited Mt. Everest, twice.
* My wife Catherine went into labor while I was interviewing at Provvista.
* I used to hate asparagus as a kid, but now I can’t live without them.
* I am an avid amateur photographer, but my BFA was in printmaking.