By Miranda Shakes /// Staff Writer
Ever wondered who the chef with the big beard is? That’s Rob Whittam. I met up with Rob after his weekend shift at Dot’s Cafe in SE.
Rob has been a chef for about 25 years and this is his second year at Lewis & Clark’s Bon Appetit branch. His favorite dishes to cook are pulled pork Benedict and tempura waffles. Throughout the years, Rob’s been a baker, but his real passion is for cooking: “Baking is like science. Cooking is about the feel.” He loves cooking because he can be creative with it., rather than being constrained to the exactness of baking.
Rob was born in Salem, Oregon and has lived all over the western United States. He spent a lot of time in Seattle, Eugene and San Francisco, and has even worked at the El Tovar Historic Hotel in Grand Canyon National Park.
Rob’s son, Devo, was born in 2004. Rob bragged to me that, by age four, Devo could recognize the music of the Ramones and loved drinking coffee. Rob loves taking Devo to concerts, and together they’ve seen a good number of groups, with an eclectic mix ranging from Bad Religion to Willie Nelson. Rob took Devo to his namesake’s concert with a sign “I Am Devo,” which a crewmember asked about. When the crewmember realized Devo’s name, he took them backstage to meet the band. It was a great experience for everyone involved.
Although Rob is only 46, he already has a bucket list. At the top is living outside of Portland again. He’s here currently because of Devo, but when Devo is out of school who knows!
And, in case you were wondering… Rob’s a dog person. All the best people are.