“This recipe gives back to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The Anti-Defamation League has been fighting hate, antisemitism, and bigotry since 1913. My parents fled the Soviet Union as Jewish refugees and came to the United States so that their children could have opportunities that were not available to them in the Soviet Union. 40 years later, some of the reasons they came here seem to be losing their footing. White supremacy is on the rise. Unfortunately, I have had two instances at Kachka that required the help of the ADL, and I can not tell you how much their resources and support mean to us as a Jewish-owned small business.” – Bonnie Morales
CHEF & CO-OWNER BONNIE MORALES’ STORY
A first-generation American daughter of Belarusian immigrants, Bonnie Frumkin Morales is an author and the chef/co-owner of Kachka a Russian restaurant in Portland, Oregon that is widely considered to be the best Russian restaurant in the United States. Bonnie grew up in Chicago in a household that honored and celebrated the distinctive culture, food, and drink of their former Soviet Union. In college, Bonnie studied product design and began her professional career working for a design consultancy in New York City, but she eventually decided to pursue a career in food.
Bonnie trained at the Culinary Institute of America, then further honed her skills at several of New York and Chicago’s Michelin-starred restaurants, including Tru, where she met her future husband and business partner, Israel Morales. A classically trained chef, Bonnie’s focus was on French cuisine but, after observing her partner’s enthusiasm and appreciation for her mother’s Russian cooking, the duo both felt the need to shine a light on this underappreciated cuisine.
In 2014, the Morales’ opened their dream restaurant, Kachka in Portland, Oregon. The menu was devoted to the food that she grew up with, inspired by Russia and the food of other former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia. Kachka has received accolades from publications such as Bon Appétit, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Vogue, and Food & Wine. Since its inception, Kachka has expanded with Kachka Lavka, an Eastern European deli, and grocery; they also now wholesale their famous dumplings to local specialty grocery stores, as well as Kachka Horseradish Vodka in Oregon liquor stores Kachka’s dumplings and merchandise can be ordered online at kachkapdx.com
In addition to the success of Katchka, Bonnie was named one of Tasting Table’s “New Originals,” and nominated for Food & Wine’s The People’s Best New Chef in 2015. In 2017 she released her first cookbook, Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking, co-authored by Deena Prichep. In 2018, she was named a Rising Star Chef by StarChefs, and a finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northwest. The Portland Business Journal selected Bonnie as one of their prestigious “40 Under 40.”
Photo credits: Amy McMullen & Carly Diaz