pacificwild catering co., the exclusive premium food and beverage brand for the venues, selected Wambaa after an extensive national search that included event menus planned with locally-sourced ingredients and “think outside the box” demonstrations such as creating gourmet concession items that would be at home on a food truck; a nod to Portland’s famous foodie culture.
“Allan’s creativity during the interview process combined with his background with international cuisine made him a natural choice for the position,” said Teri Dresler, general manager of Metro’s visitor venues. “His commitment to using sustainable ingredients along with his creativity and credentials make him a perfect fit for our venues.”
A native of Kenya, Wambaa comes to Portland after working most recently as the executive chef at the Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. Prior to that, he served as executive chef of the Bell Harbor International Conference Center & World Trade Center, Washington Hospitality and Wolfgang Puck Catering at Benaroya Hall. He also served as the Chef de Cuisine in Saudi Arabia for Prince Fahad bin Khalid al Saud.
“The challenge in the convention business is for our menus to be fresh, sustainable and in-line with local trends,” said Oregon Convention Center executive director Jeff Blosser. “Chef Wambaa is well up to the challenge and we are excited with what he is bringing to the table.”
Wambaa will be responsible for the strategic direction of all catering services and lead menu planning for venue-specific and event-related meals. He will also manage the team of food and beverage staff responsible for the in-house dining establishments in each of the venues - the Art Bar & Bistro housed in PCPA’s Antoinette Hatfield Hall, Keller Auditorium’s swanky martini bar, Keller Café, the Portland Expo Center’s brand-new West Delta Bar & Grill, and Stir cocktail lounge in the Oregon Convention Center.
The Portland Center for the Performing Arts is thrilled to be working with a chef who has a background working at a performing arts center,” said Robyn Williams, PCPA executive director. “We expect Chef Wambaa to take the ArtBar & Bistro and the Keller Café to new heights.”
“With West Delta Bar & Grill still in its infancy, I am looking forward to see what direction Chef Wambaa takes us at the Expo Center,” said Chris Bailey, director of the Portland Expo Center.
Chef Wambaa is a Pro-Chef II certified graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and is also a certified chef and member of the American Culinary Federation. Wambaa started work at the Oregon Convention Center on Thursday, August 25.
pacificwild catering co. is the exclusive premium brand created by ARAMARK specifically for the Metro Visitor Venues, with an emphasis on serving seasonal, local and sustainable food. For more information, please visit http://www.oregoncc.org/pacificwildCatering/.
The Oregon Convention Center, Portland Expo Center and Portland Center for the Performing Arts are managed by Metro. For more information, visit www.oregonmetro.gov.
Alicia Crawford Loos