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A taste of the Mediterranean
As Chris Bortisser and Tim Waibel prepare for the grand opening of their new Portuguese-inspired eatery, Augustino, they recall the history behind its namesake.
The great-grandfather of Bortisser, Augustino was a Portuguese fisherman who arrived in America at the turn of the century.
Many of the recipes used by Bortisser today were passed down from one generation to the next and have remained in his family throughout the years.
A lot of my food background comes from recipes passed down from the old country, Bortisser said.
A mix of Gibraltar fare, the food is inspired by the cultures of the Mediterranean. Menu selections range from pork loin aragonesa and braised veal shank to fresh shellfish and sauteed wild Alaskan cod.
Bortisser attributes his culinary skills not only to his family, but also to the chefs he learned from while growing up.
I grew up with great cooks, he said.
He has learned from some of the greatest including Julia Child, Jeremiah Tower, Alice Waters and Judy Rogers.
I still make things people taught me 20 years ago, Bortisser said.
Augustino, located across from the Evergreen Rotary Park on McKenzie Avenue, is currently open daily from 8 a.m. to noon for espresso and pastries. Bortisser and Waibel are hoping to open full-time for lunch and dinner early next month.
The duo currently own and operate the Simon August Metro CafÃ© in the Norm Dicks Government Center. While preparing for the opening of Augustino, the pair recently opened Simon August Manette Central a produce market featuring fresh foods and already-made Simon August goods at Perry Avenue and 11th Street. The large 2,500-square-foot kitchen at Manette Central makes up for the 100-square-foot kitchen at Augustino and allows for much of the heavy preparation to be done in the larger kitchen.
It will allow us to use this space to its full potential, Waibel said of Manette Central.
Despite their new endeavors, the two continue to offer their catering services and cater all events and shows at Bremertons Admiral Theatre.
Its allowed us to really hone our skills, Waibel said.
It was through catering that the two of them formed their business partnership. Bortisser was working as a caterer in town and Waibel an event coordinator when the two of them realized they would make a great business team.
The two received their business license four years ago and now with a catering business, two eateries and a produce market, they continue to plan out future goals.
Were planning multiple things for the future, Waibel said.