Q&A: Chef Luis Escorcia, Altabira City Tavern

Chef Luis Escorcia, Chef de Cuisine, is a native San Franciscan. He graduated from the California Culinary Academy in 2002 and has recently taken the reins at Altabira City Tavern, as chef de cuisine.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Chef Luis headed home to San Francisco, where he spent several years working in the kitchen of the highly regarded Foreign Cinema Restaurant.

His next stop was as executive sous chef, at Anchor and Hope, to work with Steven and Mitchell Rosenthal. In spring 2015, Chef Luis moved to Portland to briefly join David Machado Restaurants, at Nel Centro. He has recently taken the reins at Altabira City Tavern, as chef de cuisine.

Why are you participating in the Blended Burger Project™?

I really enjoy friendly competition.

What’s your specialty/what makes you unique?

I don’t really have a specialty, per se. I love cooking good food, and I have been doing so since I was a child. My mother was an amazing home cook. She could make a feast out of almost nothing.

“I often ask, “What would Mom do?!” I’d say my uniqueness comes from my ability to create good food from anything, just like my mother taught me. If you cook from your heart and soul, you will never go wrong.”


Have you won any awards?

I haven’t won any major awards, but in 2016, I won best side dish in Portland’s Battle of the Chefs.

What is your key to success?

It’s being hungry, in all senses of the word, and never giving up. If you want it, you will have to work hard to get it. When you get it, you will have to work even harder to keep it.

Best cooking tip for a novice?

Cook from your soul, and never be afraid to push yourself into trying new and different things.

At a Glance:

Favorite Mushroom: Morels
Your favorite dish: Sea urchin with potato puree, versu butter sauce, fine herbs, tomato and Dungeness crab
Your most popular dish: grilled adobo pork ribs

Chef Luis Escorcia, Altabira City Tavern blended burger

Catalonia Burger Recipe:

Ground chuck blended with shiitake mushrooms, romesco, grilled spring onions, salsa verde aoili, butter lettuce on a toasted brioche bun.

6 oz. of ground chuck
2 oz. of cooked and chopped shiitake mushrooms
2 each grilling onions
1 tbsp of salsa verde
1 tbsp of romesco
butter lettuce
1 toasted bun

Combine the shiitake mushrooms with ground chuck and cook to desired temperature. Set aside for assembly.
Season your grilling onions with olive oil, grill until tender. Toast your burger bun and add 1 tbsp of romesco, and 1 tbsp of salsa verde.
Add your lettuce and patty and enjoy!

Chef Luis Escorcia
Altabira City Tavern
1021 NE Grand Ave., Suite 600
Portland, OR, 97232
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