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Stephanie

Founding Chef / Owner

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Stephanie

A native of Texas, Stephanie grew up living and traveling around the world. Her father was a career Air Force pilot who was stationed in Japan, Europe and North Africa, as well as in many regions of the United States. Her parents, both enthusiastic cooks and cultural explorers, engendered in her a love and appreciation for diverse traditions, especially those involving food. Stephanie’s formal education was in English literature and French cultural history, with degrees from the University of Oregon and the Sorbonne. As a graduate student in comparative literature, she took her first restaurant job to help pay for educational expenses, and it was there that she discovered her true passion. Her lifelong interest in cooking evolved into her métier.

In 1972, she opened the Excelsior Café in Eugene, Oregon, pioneering a Northwest culinary movement with her use of seasonal menus that celebrated the bounty of the region. The restaurant was also the first in Oregon to feature the wines of the young Oregon wine industry. During her tenure there as chef and owner, the Excelsior Café was featured in many national, regional and local publications including Food & Wine, Gourmet, Travel and Leisure, Bon Appétit, The New York Times and Sunset.

After selling the Excelsior Café in the spring of 1993, Stephanie took an extended trip to France to explore the regional markets and vineyards, an experience that further sharpened her focus and commitment to market-oriented cooking. In the fall of 1993, she was chosen by King Estate Winery to develop an intensive culinary department as an integral part of their national marketing plan. Her responsibilities as culinary director included supervising a full-scale hospitality program; planning the organic vegetable and flower garden, berry patches and orchards; developing a line of food products from the property; doing food and wine events around the country; and writing about food and wine pairing.

In 1997, Stephanie turned her attention to downtown Eugene and the historic Fifth Street Market complex. She opened the casual, French-inspired Marché Café in December of 1997. Marché, a full-service restaurant and bar serving market-driven regional cooking, opened to an enthusiastic audience in September of 1998. Since then, the restaurant has flourished as one of the Pacific Northwest’s culinary destinations. In 2006, the team proudly opened Provisions, a European-style food emporium that includes housemade ice cream, pizza, espresso, charcuterie, a line of specialty foods, retail and a wine bar. The opening of the Inn at the 5th in 2012 began another new chapter for Marché, with the debut of Le Bar, the addition of breakfast service at Marché, and room service for Inn guests. Provisions expanded in 2015 into a full-fledged Market Hall, offering fresh ingredients, cookware, housewares and more. The Marché Restaurant Group continues to grow and thrive, with new projects always on the horizon.

Stephanie is active in the community, having served on a variety of boards and commissions over the course of her career. She was an industry representative on the Oregon Liquor Control Commission board, and a board member for the International Pinot Noir Celebration, Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, the Oregon Truffle Festival and the Oregon Restaurant Association–in addition to being an active member of the International Women’s Forum. In recent years, she has turned her attention to school food advocacy, working to bring Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools program to Eugene’s schools, and improve school lunches throughout the district.

Throughout her career, Stephanie has been recognized as a pioneer in the movement to support and celebrate regional, seasonal cuisine. She has been a Best Chef Northwest finalist for a James Beard Award, and honored for lifetime achievement by Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, the Cascadia Culinary Conference and many more.