Chef Sunny Jin, Oregon Garden-to-Table Innovator



When you think of truffles do you first think of France? Italy? Well, culinary vanguard chef Sunny Jin of the Allison Inn & Spa thinks you should shift your attention to his home-state of Oregon.

If anyone has the culinary knowledge to make a claim as bold as that, it’s Chef Jin. He graduated at the top of his class from Portland’s Western Culinary Institute where he received the Grand Toque Award. Jin completed his externship at Napa Valley’s famed French Laundry, working for three years under renowned chefs Thomas Keller and Corey Lee. He then went to Sydney, Australia to work at the top-rated restaurant in the southern hemisphere, Tetsuya’s, working alongside chef-owner Tetsuya Wakuda, before progressing to the kitchen at the world’s top rated restaurant, El Bulli, in Catalonia, Spain, under Ferran Adria and Oriol Castro.

He returned to the U.S. because he recognized the emergence of Oregon as one of the country’s pre-eminent food and wine destinations. “Oregon’s commitment to seasonality and local produce most resembles European culinary communities,” notes Jin. His search for a role in this emerging scene led him to Jory at The Allison Inn & Spa, one of the state’s best-reviewed restaurants since its opening. “I wish to be a part of the continued growth of this extraordinary area and have always felt proud to call Oregon home.”




I first encountered Chef Jin’s innovative Oregon garden-to-table dining when he was one of 11 executive chefs slected as Lexus epicure ambassadors, all of whom gathered for the first time to participate in the inaugural Lexus Culinary Classic, held at the Cavallo Point Resort on the San Francisco Bay in March, 2015. As a Lexus hotel partner chef, Jin cooked amazing dishes – including Oregon truffle sliders with pork belly pancetta and truffle aioli, addicting cones of truffled popcorn, and a brioche with Oregon white truffle and burrata – that wowed the handful of lucky guests. And just to underscore his firm belief in the high quality of Oregon truffles, he made and bottled truffle oil as parting gifts. “We decided to share one of our favorite local products, Oregon White Truffle Oil, from Czarnecki Family truffles,” Jin said, grinning ear to ear. “While the initial scent of the oil may surprise you, the flavors are incredible.”

A true flavor savior, Jin has infused Oregon truffles and truffle oil into numerous dishes served at his award-winning restaurant. And like any good evangelist, he’s spreading the good word by sharing his favorite Oregon truffle oil recipes with Pursuitist. “Truffle butter is a great accompaniment with fresh sliced bread, grilled corn on the cob, and also a great enhancement for mashed potatoes,” says Jin while munching on Truffle-Parmesan Popcorn which, he adds, “should be made fresh and enjoyed immediately with your favorite movie. And I recommend the Truffled Apple-Fennel Slaw for more than a side dish. This could possibly be my new favorite hotdog garnish!”

Truffle Butter

¼ pound softened, unsalted Butter

1 tablespoon Oregon truffle oil

Sea salt, to taste

Directions: Place butter in a standup mixer. Using a paddle attachment, whip the butter on low for about 5 to 7 minutes. The butter should double in size. Next, slowly drizzle in the truffle oil, and continue whipping until fully incorporated. Dollop a small amount into a ramekin and finish with sea salt over the top.

Truffle-Parmesan Popcorn

2 quarts freshly popped popcorn

½ cup shaved parmesan

1 tablespoon Oregon truffle oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons- fresh chopped parsley

Black pepper and sea salt, to taste

Directions: Place the popcorn in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil and truffle oil evenly over the popcorn. Next, add the parsley and shaved Parmesan and mix thoroughly. Finish with sea salt and fresh cracked peppercorn to taste.




Truffled Apple-Fennel Slaw

2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced

2 Honeycrisp apples, julienned

½ red onion, thinly sliced

3 celery stalks, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons toasted celery seeds

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

¼ cup fresh chopped parsley

½ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Oregon truffle oil, to taste

Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, Dijon, garlic, celery seeds, and parsley. Fold in the fennel, apple, celery, and red onion. Season the slaw using fresh cracked peppercorn, salt, and truffle oil to taste. The slaw is best if eaten immediately as salt tends to draw out moisture from ingredients causing them to become less crisp.




Wagyu Beef Tartare

Mizuna Salad, Amaranth Popcorn, Oregon Truffle Oil, Uni Hollandaise

For The Wagyu Tartare (serves two):

4 oz. Wagyu NY Strip Loin (or substitute your favorite cut of beef)

2 oz. radish, brunoised

1 shallot, minced

1 orange, zest only

1 lemon, juice only

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped fine

1 tablespoon chives, chopped fine

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Oregon truffle oil

Sea salt, to taste

Directions: For easier cutting, place the beef in a freezer for 10 minutes until set firm, but not frozen. Brunoise the beef and wrap tightly to prevent oxidation. Store the beef in the refrigerator for later use. Just before serving, combine all the ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Season the mixture with sea salt.

For The Uni Hollandaise:

2 oz. fresh Uni, pureed

1 ½ oz. Yuzu juice (lemon juice may be substituted)

3 egg yolks

1 cup butter, melted

Kosher salt, to taste

1 teaspoon water

Directions: In a bowl set atop a pot of simmering water, whisk the egg yolk with the water until it doubles in volume and becomes light and frothy (about 30 to 60 seconds). Remove from the double boiler and drizzle in the melted butter while whisking vigorously. The butter will begin to emulsify into the yolks. If you notice the hollandaise thickening too quickly, just add a teaspoon of water. Season the hollandaise with salt and yuzu juice. Whisk in the uni puree just before serving.

For The Amaranth Popcorn:

¼ cup Amaranth

Kosher salt, to taste

Directions: Pre-heat a pot over medium high heat. Add the amaranth to the dry pot and cover. Shake continuously to evenly heat the seeds. Listen for steady popping. As soon as the popping slows, remove the amaranth popcorn from the pot into a bowl and season with salt. This will yield about ½ cup amaranth popcorn.

For the Mizuna:

1 pint Mizuna (or substitute another spicy green)

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Lemon juice, to taste

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Simply toss the mizuna with the sesame and olive oil. Balance the greens with lemon juice (roughly quarter of a lemon), salt, and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

To Plate: Place half of the beef tartare in the center of a chilled plate. Drizzle two heavy tablespoons of the hollandaise over the top. Sprinkle on half of the amaranth popcorn, and finish with the mizuna salad. Enjoy immediately.


This article was originally published on Pursuitist and has been republished by GoodLife Report by permission of Pursuitist