About Olympia Provisions
Salumist Elias Cairo, grew up first generation Greek-American with a father who made charcuterie at home. Doing things the old-fashioned way was commonplace. Elias later journeyed to Europe to apprentice in the kitchens of masters. It was there that he rediscovered the art of curing meat and found inspiration in the markets and mountain towns of the old world.
The experience affirmed what he’d been taught all along: handmade is better.
Back in beautiful Portland, Oregon, Elias set out to approach the craft of charcuterie with purity and patience, recreating a nearly extinct traditional technique that is seldom seen in America.
The result is Olympia Provisions, Oregon’s first USDA-approved salumeria, established in 2009, deeply rooted in the past.
The Old World is New Again
Everything that we make is handcrafted naturally with the ultimate goal of quality. In order to achieve a finished product that tastes as good as it possibly can, we pay fastidious attention to the details.
Ingredients are our inspiration and we seek out the best and freshest. We butcher antibiotic-free Pacific Northwest pork to 100% lean, adding pure, soft fatback, and a judicious amount of sea salt, fresh garlic and freshly ground spices. Our cured meats are held in natural casings and maintained in the organic white mold that protects them.
Such a deliberate approach promises the ultimate reward: vibrant yet gentle flavor and authentic, unique character.
Handmade with Precision
Charcuterie is as much an art as it is a science. We approach it with inspired precision. As a USDA inspected facility, we adhere to the strictest guidelines. All of our cured meats are encouraged to age naturally and slowly without being hurried, hot-incubated, cooked or irradiated.
This uncommon technique assures a finished product that has deep, nuanced flavor and exquisite texture.
Press & Awards
Olympia Provisions is the proud winner of the following Good Food Awards:2011 - Loukanika, Saucisson d'Arles, Pork Liver Mousse, Pickled Corno di Toro Peppers
2012 - Chorizo Navarre
2013 - Lomo Di Parma
2014 - Salami Cotto
2015 - Flaco Paco Pepperettes and Salami Etna
2016 - Rigani Loukaniko
This year, we are proud winners of the 2017 Good Food Awards for our Landrauchschinken!
Our Amazing Staff
Head Salumist / OwnerSalumist, Elias Cairo, grew up first generation Greek-American, with a father who made charcuterie at home. After five years in Switzerland under master chef Annegret Schlumpf, Cairo completed a chef apprenticeship. Utilizing the finest ingredients, he developed his skills and passion for making charcuterie, and the experience affirmed his beliefs – handmade is better. Back in Portland, Oregon, Elias set out to approach the craft of charcuterie with purity and patience, recreating a nearly extinct old world technique that’s seldom seen in America.
Owner, Michelle Cairo brings a wealth of knowledge surrounding business after working over a decade in corporate finance, business planning, accounting, and performance management. Prior to leaving the Corporate World, Cairo was CFO of Opus Solution and Director of Finance for Pacific Power. In 2010, she was selected Portland’s Best CFO for medium-sized companies by the Portland Business Journal. Michelle holds a BS in Finance from University of Utah and a Masters of Business Administration from Utah State University. Michelle grew up with Elias in a large Greek family who was obsessed with food!
Tyler Gaston brings a diverse background to Olympia Provisions. Leaving his Oklahoma homeland at nineteen to sail the high seas in the United States Navy, he slowly migrated from the Atlantic to Pacific. Tyler has gained valuable knowledge and skills in a wide variety of occupations, including over a decade of experience in restaurants. He managed a wildly successful French pastry shop in Chicago, extracted oil from the Great Plains, mined uranium in Wyoming, built critically acclaimed custom homes in Seattle and cooked in the best restaurants of Portland.
Nate Tilden has been in the restaurant business for over fifteen years. Tilden started out as a dishwasher then worked his way up to a chef. He managed Castagna for two years before opening Clyde Common ( a European style tavern serving delicious food and drinks in a casual and energizing space) in May 2007. In 2010, Nate also opened Spirit of 77, an eclectic sports bar. Tilden’s rapid success with the Clyde, his track record of hiring creative talent in the kitchen and the bar, and his reputation as a good employer make him instrumental in the success of Olympia Provisions.
What a trip. Back in 2004 our senior member, Martin Schwartz finally cashed in his chips and made his way from beautiful Los Angeles to more beautiful Portland. With a background in music, film and real estate he’s wandered from Massachusetts to Panama, happily settling among a fine collection of talented friends and associates in the Pacific Northwest.
With a unique sense of business, Martin helps steer the ships while swinging the hammers- though he humbly states his primary talent is hanging with the right crew. Besides OP he co-owns neighborhood favorites, Free House and The Richmond Bar.
Josh Graves began his career at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He was trained in whole animal butchery under Josh Applestone of Fleischer's Meats. After three years there, he moved to Portland, OR where he met Eli Cairo and helped open Olympia Provisions. Three years later, Joshua now serves as Plant Manager at our meat department, overseeing all areas of production and fabrications while continuing to train other butchers and charcutiers.
Meat Dpt.Paul Oppliger was part of the opening kitchen crew at Olympia Provisions, where he focused on cooked charcuterie. He moved to the meat shop to help expand our line of pates, fresh sausages and smoked meats. He is also the most photogenic of the meat shop as well.
Hot Dog Artist / Executive Chef
Victor Deras is truly the Wurst. He graduated from Scottsdale Culinary Institute in 2005, and since then, Victor has worked in a variety of kitchens, ranging from big hotels and casinos to small, independent restaurants. He began his Portland career under the tutelage of Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez Denton, working his way from pantry to sous chef in their first Portland restaurant. In the winter of 2012, Victor began cooking with Olympia Provisions and he’s had a long lasting impact on the menu and culture of our restaurants. He created and refined the weekly Frankfurter Friday specials into a buzzing sensation, and from this tradition, OP Wurst was born! From the helm, Victor continues to innovate and impress with his, sometimes outlandish, takes on the honored American staple, the hot dog.
Jessica "Jess" Hereth
Operations Director + Wine Director
Jess' first job was in the dish pit of an Ashland panini cafe where she worked to save money for her first trip to Europe in high school. Since then - between university studies and bouts of travel - Jess has worked in restaurants in a variety of capacities from prep cook to busser, server, bartender, somm, and manager. Jess not only oversee's the daily operations of the OP restaurants, but with the help of the fabulous staff she curates the OP wine programs as well. She has studied wine formally and is a certified sommelier, receiving the top grade in her class. She has a solid foundation of global wine regions, styles, and wine making practices, and is an adamant supporter of small production, minimal intervention wines. When not at OP you'll likely find her gardening with her two dogs while enjoying glass of natural French wine.
NW Executive Chef
Midway through his junior year as a business major at the University of Texas at Austin, Eric realized he just wasn’t a suit and tie kind of guy. He did love cooking for his roommates though, and being a pragmatist, Eric figured if he became a cook, he’d at least always be able to eat. He picked up a job as a griddle cook at a country club pool cabana, and was instantly hooked, so he dropped out of college to cook and prepare for culinary school (his parents were thrilled). After graduating from California Culinary Academy in 2001, Eric did his externship at the Savoy Hotel in London, then spent a summer working at Portland’s venerable Café Castagna with future OP partners Elias Cairo and Nate Tilden, before moving to the Bay Area, where he worked with chef Bradley Ogden at The Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur. After returning to Portland a decade later, Eric spent five years behind the stove at acclaimed wine bar Bar Avignon, before “rejoining the band” at OP. On his off time, he relentlessly hounds small local farmers for their most interesting produce, and hangs out with his wonderful wife Murphy and their small home zoo of two dogs and two cats.
NW General ManagerDuring his twenty-four years in New York City, Gary attended college at the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked for several major retailers before discovering that the restaurant business was his calling. After stints at various restaurants around town, Gary spent a decade working with chef Mario Batali and the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, most recently as Service Director at Otto Enoteca. In 2013, Gary and his husband visited Portland on their honeymoon, fell in love with the charm, the food, and the rain, and moved here four months later with their two cats. As Otto Enoteca was one of the first restaurants in New York certified to cure their own meats, Olympia Provisions was a natural fit. Gary never quite abandoned fashion altogether, and currently co-owns a small business with his husband, designing custom garments for local artists and performers.
NW Sommelier/ManagerJohnny’s career in wine happened quite by accident, when he volunteered to help out in the cellar of the Washington, D.C. restaurant, where he waited tables. After moving to San Francisco in 2002, Johnny worked at several of the city’s finest restaurants, including James Beard Award-winning The Slanted Door, where he was greatly inspired by the esoteric, small-producer driven list, and developed a deep appreciation for farmer-winemakers and natural winemaking practices. In 2014, Johnny relocated to Portland, where he eventually landed at OP. When he’s not recommending his favorite Rieslings, Grower Champagnes, and anything from the Loire Valley, he’s playing with Gin the dog, drinking a cocktail, or watching Parks & Recreation.
Master PicklerAs a child, Joe began making pickles in his grandmother’s kitchen. He recalls summer afternoons in rural South Jersey sealing mason jars of applesauce, fruits, tomatoes, and pickled eggs. Joe maintained his passion for cooking and later attended the Philadelphia Restaurant School. After a stop over in New York, Joe eventually made his way to Portland and began working at Olympia Provisions in 2010. Joe not only loves making artisanal pickles, but in his spare time, he enjoys rockin’ out on his bass with his band, Sleeptalker.
Born in NE Portland to a family of cooks, Yoder quickly learned the value of preparing seasonal, locally-sourced cuisine. At Chateaulin, Castagna, and Clyde Common, Yoder has worked from line cook to sous chef, before taking the helm at Olympia Provisions as executive chef in 2010.
Yoder, prefers to spend his free time with a cookbook, and counts octopus, sardines and oxtails among his best friends. He takes an ingredient-driven approach to formulating his Mediterranean-influenced menu.
“This is the way I like to cook, because this is the way I like to eat,” he said. “Sometimes you’re in the mood for protein, & sometimes you just want a salad and fresh vegetables.”
Pastry ChefMandy Groom has enjoyed a twenty-four-year career in the food industry as a pastry chef, teacher and consultant. Formerly executive pastry chef at Portland institutions Zefiro and Bluehour, she also worked at acclaimed Le Pigeon and Ken's Artisan Bakery. Mandy’s work has been featured in Northwest Palate, Food Arts, Gourmet, Better Homes and Gardens, and Food & Wine, and her recipes have been published in Baking From The Heart, a cookbook benefiting Share Our Strength, a national organization dedicated to fighting hunger. In her spare time, Mandy enjoys music, singing, photography, gardening, nature, botanical hoarding, and spontaneous dance parties.
SE General ManagerEmily got her start in the restaurant business at age five, rolling cheese balls at her parents’ small town diner in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. After honing her front and back of the house skills working in her family’s Italian fine dining restaurant throughout her teen years, Emily got her BA in Education, but soon realized that the restaurant life was her true passion. She moved cross country to Portland on a whim, where she tended bar at local favorites Jake’s Grill, Lucy’s Table, and Veritable Quandary, before leaving to lead the bar program at OP Southeast, where she is also the general manager. Emily is currently enrolled in The Court of Master Sommeliers' educational program, and is working her way towards certification.