Helen Baldus brings over 15 years experience in the food and hospitality industry to her role of Media Relations Director. Prior to joining Watershed Communications, Helen worked for Bullfrog & Baum for 9 years, and before that spent five years as a professional cook and pastry chef in various restaurants in San Francisco, including Jardinière. Helen has direct access to key media in all platforms and a proven track record of success. In her career she has garnered placements in a wide array of outlets including Everyday with Rachael Ray, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, W, The New York Times, Food Network Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine, among others. Helen holds a Master of Arts in Food Studies from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Anthropology from McGill University.
In Iowa City, Iowa, as a child, assisting my zany pre-school teacher, Karine, who was also a caterer. She ran the preschool out of her home and sometimes enlisted the kids to help with the prep. According to my mother, at four or five years old I came home one day and said, “Mommy, Mommy, I had the best day. We rolled egg rolls and wrapped scallops in bacon and stuck them with a toothpick!” Perhaps this was the beginnings of my interest in food.
Za’atar, a mixture of sumac, sesame seeds and herbs frequently used in the Middle East and Mediterranean areas. I shake it on tons of things, from pickled onions, to feta cheese, to a green salad. Also great on in olive oil for bread or mixed into yogurt for a simple d
A Gin Gimlet. It feels very summery even though it’s evergreen. Are limes really ever “in season” when you live in the East Coast? Using Plymouth Gin right now.
Lota LaMontagne has spent her adult life honing skills that make her a successful account executive with fresh ideas, a contemporary understanding of strategic communications and an honest love for the Northwest. Raised on whole grains and yogurt in the South Bay of Los Angeles, Lota settled in Oregon nearly 15 years ago, planting the seeds of a future that’s focused on nurturing businesses with integrity and watching them grow. With a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon, and an extensive background in sales, Lota’s strengths include an eagerness to create results and an ability to maintain solid relationships. Well-known in Eugene for her private “Kitty Club” cocktail parties, held at the historic McDonald Theatre, Lota cites event planning as an area of expertise. “When you invite 250 people to an event, nearly everyone shows up, and they have a great time, then you can revel in the bliss of success,” explains Lota. Her most notable successes have been the planning and executing of several high profile media campaigns. From spearheading a media campaign for the multi-million dollar conversion of the Hotel Monaco Portland, to executing a wine release campaign for Erath Vineyards that garnered nationwide coverage, Lota’s strengths pair perfectly with her education in magazine writing and public relations, giving her the ability to edit, write, plan and produce both strategic campaigns and events for clients. But it’s her personal history with – and passion for – the natural foods industry that have given her a unique perspective to successfully execute media campaigns for clients like Nancy’s Yogurt. Lota is actively involved in culinary groups and is currently serving as a Board Member-at-large of the Portland Culinary Alliance.
I was raised on the beach in Los Angeles, mostly as a child of the natural foods movement. But the one thing my French / Dutch mom wasn’t scared of was butter. My favorite food as a child was when she’d make us an open face sandwich of avocado and marinated artichokes on a butter-drenched sourdough English muffin. It sounds simplistic, but it takes on an insanely delicious umami flavor. To this day, I’ve vowed that if I ever had a restaurant, it would be on the menu.
Artichokes! I love them small, large, steamed, grilled, dipped in butter, by themselves. Basically, it’s impossible to mess these up in my mind.
For a few years I lived in San Diego and we had three avocado trees. That’s where I learned this trick on ripening avocados. To speed up the ripening process, pluck the button off the end of the avocado – basically, the nub where the stem was attached. If it pops off easily, it’s ripe. If it’s tough to get off, it will now begin ripening faster.
Katie joins Watershed to take the helm of the growing Wine Division. In this role she will focus on strategic planning and business development in the wine sector as well as account management and special projects related to the industry.
During her eight year tenure as Marketing and Events Director for the Oregon Wine Board, export sales and distribution of Oregon wines grew dramatically, and the Oregon Wine Industry Symposium became the go-to event for the Oregon wine community. These, and other strategic initiatives to which she contributed, position her well to guide the growth of Watershed’s wine clients around the world.
A born-and-raised Oregonian, Katie grew up in southwest Portland and went on to obtain her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Washington. Her appreciation for authentic, handcrafted food and wine blossomed during a five-year stint in Paris working for the State of Washington, helping companies expand into European markets.
Nana’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie! My grandparents were great proponents of knowing the source of your food. Every summer around the time school got out, they would take us to a u-pick in the Willamette Valley to load up on strawberries. As delicious as they were fresh from the field, my mouth still waters at the memory of the way the sweet berries would complement the tartness of the rhubarb, all set off by the flaky, buttery lattice crust that I helped Nana roll out. Her simple recipe is the one I use to this day.
Rosé wine in the summertime. Before the hot weather hits, I make sure the fridge is stocked with plenty of dry, aromatic rosé. It’s the perfect accompaniment to heirloom tomatoes, Thai food, almost anything you grill, and just for sipping on the patio on balmy summer nights.
A soft-ripened triple-crème on French bread with arugula and fig jam. The combination of creamy/bitter/sweet/crusty never fails to please a crowd.
Jessica Moskovitz comes to Watershed to lead the Restaurant Division. A life-long restaurant enthusiast, Jessica is also a former chef, a campaign-winning political operative and a former attorney. Jessica’s personal history of dining ranges from Jeremiah Tower’s famous/notorious Stars to the taco trucks of East Los Angeles. Born and raised in Berkeley surrounded by Meyer lemons and Italian salami, Jessica moved to Oregon in 2005 to pursue her love of food among Portland’s bright, young and innovative new chefs. After four years of cooking, cleaning and chopping in a variety of small restaurants, Jessica was sidetracked by her love of communications and politics. Jessica’s successes include overseeing the branding, media relations, targeting and event management for winning statewide ballot measure campaigns as well as for local candidates and measures across the country. Jessica’s strengths include her hands-on knowledge of restaurant management; her strategic planning skills and her ability to write, edit and project manage all aspects of a successful public relations campaign. To this she adds an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the history of fine dining in America and a true love of the community and conviviality that truly great food brings into our lives.
On my 16th birthday, taking in the unrivaled view of the San Francisco Bay from the ferry building at the Pacific Trade Club (now sadly defunct) while a suited server composed an amazing Caesar salad, table-side. Half waiter, half chef, the server talked us through all of the dressing ingredients as he added them to ancient wooden bowl: egg yolk, carefully cracked and separated, bright lemon, salty anchovy to the taste of the table – but never without it. The salad was a delicious show that fully involved everyone in the process of great food – and one of the best birthday gifts I have ever received.
Fennel. The slight licorice bite of fennel is wonderful raw and a surprisingly mellow team player when cooked. Even better – it has two seasons!
Time. No matter how much cooking I have left to do, I always allow myself 30 minutes before guests arrive to change into something clean and set out a platter of cured meats, olives and cheeses. This little ritual makes sure that I feel my best and my guests won’t starve while we finish the meal together.
Living and working in Portland since the early 1990’s, Jack Hott has watched Portland grow into a one of the leading cities for artisanal food and wine. He studied Philosophy at Portland State University, but upon graduation he began his career in his true interest: the restaurant industry. He was attracted to the city’s distinct restaurant culture and the challenge of communicating what made Portland so special. Having worked for years as a Sommelier, Jack has a unique perspective on food and wine. He’s now looking to apply that perspective in public relations, social media and digital marketing in order to best tell the story of the region’s top food artisans, as well as producers from across the country.
My friends and I decided to drive from Portland, Oregon to Skagway, Alaska and camp along the way. Before leaving Portland we stocked up on the usual camping food, but one of my friends snuck in canned and dry goods from a local specialty grocery. When we were lucky to find a grocery with decent lettuce in far northern British Columbia, she made us the perfect Niçoise Salad. It was the best thing ever, and a sight better than the cold tuna fish I was expecting.
I’m an avid home cook and my favorite thing in the kitchen is my ancient Wagner Ware #6 iron skillet. It’s been in my family since my Great Grandmother bought it in Ohio in the 1920’s. It’s no decorative antique, however, as it’s perfectly seasoned and makes the best scrambled eggs or omelets. I think I use it more than anything else in my kitchen, except maybe the coffee maker.
When it’s hot and I need something refreshing at the end of the working day I like to make a version of the Pimm’s Cucumber. I learned this drink from working with a particularly talented bartender. Take Cucumber infused vodka, Pimms, lime and a dash of simple syrup, shake it hard and strain into a cocktail glass. It’s delicious.
Jesse Radonski loves to talk about the things he loves in life, which is why he chose to specialize in public relations and attain a nationally accredited degree in public relations from the University of Oregon. Upon graduation, Jesse delved into the world of social media marketing for almost a year before making a switch to Watershed Communications. He equally enjoys hearty sandwiches and craft beer.
A friend and I took a trip to Chicago and made a plan to do what some locals call the “meat wave” or eating at Kuma’s Corner and Hot Doug’s back-to-back. The cold, snowy February weather didn’t make it an easy trip via train from the city but the Plague Bringer burger made with roasted garlic mayo, tortilla strips, house made hot sauce, fresh garlic, pepperjack, and sliced jalapeños on a pretzel bun warmed me right up. The Chicago-style hot dog from Hot Doug’s was more than enough to make me succumb to the meat wave, but something that I’ll never forget.
Fresh hop season has to be one of the best times of the year. The immediacy of trying all of the fresh hop brews along with the multiple fresh hop festivals that arrive in quick succession makes for an enjoyable time of the year to spend with other like-minded craft beer lovers in the local community.
Most people that know me would probably think I’d say sriracha. That’s partially true, but I’d have to go with… Nah, you know what? Sriracha. I put that on just about everything.