Our Team

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HEIDI WHITNEY-SCHILE

HEAD CHEF

If you visited Old Salt for Brunch or for the supper house program then you have already tried the food and style of our head chef, Heidi Whitney-Schile.  An Oregon local, Heidi has spent her entire life around food. Being raised on a farm in Dundee, Oregon for the earlier part of her life; a love of food and an understanding of the importance of Oregon farms has never left her. 

Heidi has been a pastry lead at several of Portland's iconic bakeries (Crema, Pix Patisserie, Plaza del Toro), where she studied the art of French pastries.  She has also worked in high-level, high-volume kitchens, like Carafe Bistro, and Bollywood Theater, where the food quality is held high, even when the lines are a mile long.  

She came to Old Salt when she was running her own brunch pop-up in our private Carver Room, weekly.  She had built a strong following of diners, but wanted to offer it in a venue that would afford her to work on it full-time.  When we had the opportunity, we snagged her to take over our Supperhouse brunch and then eventually the dinner program where she broadened the pastry offerings, and continued to push the seasonal menu with creative dishes that brought guests back week after week. 

After the close of Old Salt, Heidi left Oregon temporarily and moved across the country to beautiful Pennsylvania to work as the head chef of a 5 star resort and help them create a new locally focused menu and develop a farm to table program.

Upon her return to Oregon we immediately scooped her back up to join the Grain and Gristle team. Now with her on board as head chef at Grain and Gristle you can expect to see her beautiful seasonal offerings that pair great with a cocktail or beer. Pop your head in the back, say hi, her energy and love of food is contagious and obvious in every dish she creates.


 

MICHELLE MENDENHALL-SAWYER

GENERAL MANAGER

Badass Ladyboss.

 
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BEN MEYER

FOUNDER/CONSULTANT

Born in Indiana, Ben started his cooking career, in earnest, in Madison, WI.  He moved to Portland in 2001 and took over a small cafe and ran a farm-direct menu for two years before selling his stake and leaving on his bike for a year-long trek around the country. He then walked across Spain for a year to see 800 year-old farming operations, before returning to Portland to try to build his vision.  

He worked with Marcus to open Genie's Cafe.  He worked the opening line at Portland's iconic Toro Bravo, before taking a job in a production meatshop, crafting smoked and cured meats.  In 2009 Ben co-founded Ned Ludd with Jason French, cooking farm-direct foods out of a single wood-fired oven.  In 2010 he left to open Grain & Gristle with Marcus Hoover and Alex Ganum.  Since, they opened Old Salt Market in 2014.  Ben co-founded Revel Meat Company, rehabilitating a small slaughterhouse and meat processing facility in Canby, OR, wholesaling the finest meats in the region to fine kitchens and markets around the Portland area. 

In his spare time he builds lego jets with his son, Wendell.

ALEX GANUM

FOUNDER/CONSULTANT

As the pub’s beer curator, Alex believes that the best brews in the world come from right here in Portland. He’s devoted to his own small production facility, Upright Brewing, focusing on unique styles that blend historic French and Belgian elements with his own methodology. Upright also brews a well hopped north German style lager year round, the Engelberg Pilsener, featured as the pub's house draft.

Consistently regarded as one of the finest breweries in Portland, Upright has reached cult status for their barrel-aged beers, and creative seasonal bottle list.  We are proud to act as the off-premise tap house for Upright's fine beers.

 

 

MARCUS HOOVER

FOUNDER/CONSULTANT

Marcus designed and built the entire restaurant at Grain & Gristle, as well as many of the best kitchens around Portland.  He worked as kitchen designer for Rose’s Restaurant Equipment for 10 years. After a serious motorcycle injury, Marcus trained in culinary arts, He earned his degree and then built Genie’s Cafe, assuming the duties of general manager until moving on to Rose’s in 2006. 

He previously worked as a showpiece wood craftsman and contractor, producing custom cabinetry and furniture.  

He recently left Rose's to help open a full-scale bakery and work as the operations manager, on top of his duties as facilities manager at Old Salt and Grain & Gristle.  He also has a delightful newborn daughter to keep him busy.