In culinary school, Ged Aydelott learned to cook with wine and other liquors. Beer, however, was not on his list. So, it was something of an eye opener for the chef when he signed on at Pacific City’s Pelican Pub and Brewery, and discovered a fine brew can be a formidable ingredient in its own right.
“I really fell in love with pairing food and beer,” says Aydelott, chef at the pub since 2006. “It is a way that I can be creative that is new for me. I can incorporate beer into food whether I am using the ingredients used to produce the beer, like hops or various grains, or using the beer itself as an ingredient.”
One favorite example of that is his pale malt crusted salmon served with a reduction sauce of beer, vinegar and honey. “It’s been on the menu for four years and it is pretty popular,” he says. “It’s a great dish to pair with our McPelican’s Ale. It really ties into the malty profile of the beer.”
Three times a year, Aydelotte helps take the experience to the next level when the pub hosts its Brewers Dinner, pairing each of the five courses with a carefully selected beer.
“We try to do something new every single time we do it,” says Aydelotte. “We have one coming up on April 16 with wild game. We’re serving rattlesnake, ostrich, elk and venison.”
Aydelotte knew his future lie in the kitchen since he was a young teenager. “I always enjoyed helping mom in the kitchen, coming up with things I thought were original, but weren’t. There’s something incredible about taking ingredients and making something people will enjoy. It’s very fulfilling. It’s always nice to walk through the dining room and see people eating the food you have created, and enjoying themselves.”
But perhaps his fondness for crafting fine food is not really by chance at all.
His name, after all, is pronounced “eat a lot.”