Owner and Executive Chef
Irving Street Kitchen
Executive Chef and Owner Sarah Schafer leads Irving Street Kitchen, guiding guests through a story of past and present via a marriage of her East and West coast influences. Schafer is one of Portland’s powerhouse female chefs, always on the cutting edge of the local food scene with standout, casually elegant American cuisine. Schafer’s training and experience provide the backbone of her thoughtful and collaborative menu.
Fascinated by classical cooking techniques and the science behind it all, Schafer grew up knowing she wanted to be a chef. She recreated many of Julia Child’s recipes with her mom and great grandmother at her side, executing a perfectly rich consommé before learning how to read. By the time she was 14, she worked at a small Boston bakery as a prep steward and eventually became a master at creating traditional wedding cakes.
Upon graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1993, Schafer immediately began working under some of the most respected chefs in the restaurant industry. Noting Ken Oringer, Tom Colicchio and Danny Meyer as her mentors, she became the first female Sous Chef at Gramercy Tavern – where Julia Child personally thanked her for an incredible meal – and helped open Eleven Madison Park. Schafer eventually made her way to San Francisco to be closer to family and helped open Daniel Patterson’s Elizabeth Daniel.
After several years in the Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest beckoned to Schafer and in 2010 Irving Street Kitchen was born. Schafer collaborates with every individual who has a hand in the restaurant’s day-to-day operations. She says leaving her mark in every area of a restaurant’s space – in both the food and design of the interior – is something she learned from her mentors on the East Coast.
Schafer is passionate about local and national advocacy work and participates in charitable dinner events for non-profit organizations including No Kid Hungry, Self Enhancement Inc., and The ALS Association. In her free time, she likes to garden and hopes to complete her urban farm. She also enjoys spending time with her wife and their little pug Olive.