by: J HOUSE. PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Raised as a FoodieEver since he can remember, Ron Paul has been thinking of food, quality ingredients, and creating things from scratch.

He fondly recalls his mother’s cooking as a child in Tucson, Ariz., and his family's travels in Europe and Mexico.

One of his favorite memories was at age 10, eating a meal prepared by a Mexican chef in New Mexico. "It was an amalgam of tastes that were both Mexican and French — what is called fusion cooking now — but this was in the 1960s," Paul says. "Having been in Europe, I just sensed this was the best of both worlds."

His mother and father belonged to a gourmet cooking club and divided the menus of the month between their friends for shared meals.

When he was a teen, Paul and his brothers — one older and one younger — prepared a gourmet meal for their parents’ anniversary.

“We made bread and pasta from scratch,” Paul says. “We paired it with wines and gave our wine list to Dad to buy.”

His brothers followed their mother's footsteps and went into law. Paul, who moved to Portland in 1974, became a self-taught chef.

He opened a restaurant and catering business, Ron Paul Charcuterie, which had three locations in Portland from 1983 to 1998.

In 1990, he was contacted through his post as executive chef of Rex Hill Wines to be the first Oregon chef invited to cook at James Beard's home. His task: prepare a five-course dinner for 85 people with as many Oregon ingredients as he could bring to New York.

Paul and his sous-chef brought gravlax they cured, black-market Columbia River sturgeon caviar, and a New York steak roast filled with an eye of wild mushrooms.

The New Yorkers thought they'd bought their ingredients at Zabar's, the Upper West Side gourmet specialty shop.

"I said 'no,' he recalls. "'This is what we do in Oregon.' "

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