Chef David Touvell of Chow Talks about Sustainability

Running one of Central Oregon’s finest breakfast-and-lunch restaurants isn’t enough for David Touvell. The owner and executive chef of Chow (, on Newport Avenue, has other big plans in mind.

Chef David Touvell

That’s not surprising, when you get to know him. Touvell, 35, has never been the kind of guy to sit still.

What’s in the works? For starters, a new pizza pub, The Local Slice. Dave hopes to get it up and running by the beginning of February in Brookswood Meadow Plaza, on Bend’s south side. He was to have signed the lease earlier this week.

Later in 2012, he expects to expand the Chow concept … to Portland. He is exploring three possible locations on Northeast Alberta Street and Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. Stay tuned.

And then there’s a little personal business — a wedding. Dave and his longtime girlfriend, Rebecca Wilkinson, plan to get married in the summer. Their daughter, Jardin, born in August 2010, will be an active participant.

I guess you could say that even Touvell’s personal life revolved around sustainability.

“If we don’t support our local producers, the world itself from a food perspective will collapse,” Dave tells me one morning over a plate of eggs Blackstone, one of his signature dishes. “There’s no way we can sustain ourselves if we buy from everybody all over the world.”

Touvell has been a part of the Bend restaurant scene since 2000. A native of Ventura, Calif., he began working in the bakery kitchen of a family friend when he was only 9 years old. He attended the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, and after a stint with the Pebble Beach Resorts group on California’s Monterey Peninsula, returned to Oregon.

He arrived in Bend after working in Ashland (Catwalk and Peerless); Tucson, Ariz. (the Tack Room and Hacienda del Sol); and Portland (Couvron and William’s). He initially worked at Café Rosemary, then consulted for seven years at such restaurants as Barcelona, Sushimoto, the Lodge at Suttle Lake and Kanpai.

In 2008, he opened Chow. “I’d always seen the location, and wanted to do a restaurant on my own,” he says. “I designed it and the concept evolved.”

Ham and eggs, Chow-style

Today, the first thing a patron sees when walking in the front door is a blackboard that lists three dozen local food providers and other business people whose services Touvell enlists.

“I’ve been practicing sustainability since I first started cooking,” he says. “It’s not only that flavor is more alive when the food is in season. More than that, it is an educated response to the economy and to what people eat from a dietary perspective.

“Everything is made from scratch. We don’t grow our own potatoes or milk our own cows … but if we could, we would. It’s not marketing. I really, really believe in it.”

David Touvell is one of nearly two dozen Central Oregon chefs featured with original recipes in “Sage in the Kitchen,” a cookbook soon to be published as a benefit project for Bend’s Community Center. For more information, please see:


1 Comment

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One response to “Chef David Touvell of Chow Talks about Sustainability

  1. Local Consumer

    I love and utterly support the idea of buying local. But let’s ask David how often he buys from local producers. A farmer I know is listed on his board but he hasn’t bought anything for quite some time. Where is the accountability?

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