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Securing America’s Future:

The Power of Liberal Arts Education

Naomi Pomeroy

Chef and Restaurant Owner
Lewis & Clark College (OR), Class of 1997
Naomi Pomeroy is an internationally known chef and restaurant owner. She and her sous chef Mika Paredes opened the restaurant, the Beast, in Portland, Oregon, in 2007. She and her husband Kyle Linden Webster opened a cocktail lounge, Expatriate, in Portland in 2013. She was a finalist on the Bravo reality-cooking show Top Chef Masters.

Beast has been featured in Gourmet, Elle, and other magazines. In addition, Pomeroy has received several honors and awards. Bon Appètit named Pomeroy as one of the top six of a new generation of female chefs in 2008, and Food & Wine magazine recognized her as one of the 10 Best New Chefs in America in 2009. Locally, Pomeroy was voted Chef of the Year for 2008 by Portland Monthly. Beast was named Restaurant of the Year by the Oregonian in 2008 and chosen as Best Brunch by the Willamette Weekly. In 2010, Pomeroy was selected as a finalist for the prestigious James Beard Awards for Best Chef in the Pacific Northwest. Marie Claire named Pomeroy one of the 18 most powerful women in business in 2010.

Pomeroy began her career at catering companies and privately catered weddings in Oregon. She teamed up with Michael Hebb to open Ripe Catering in 1999 and launched an offshoot of the company, Family Supper, soon after. They eventually opened Gotham Coffee Shop, ClarkLewis Restaurant, and Gotham Tavern, which they no longer run. She graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 1997.
My name is Naomi Pomeroy, and I received an undergraduate degree in history from Lewis & Clark College in 1997. Now I’m an internationally known chef.
 
Sometimes people are surprised to hear that I have a degree in history and not in culinary arts. I’ve never attended a cooking class in my life! Truthfully, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my degree, and even when I graduated, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted my future path to be. I studied history because I loved it.
 
When I first arrived at Lewis & Clark, I considered biology or political science. In my junior year, I was a participant in an overseas trip with the school to India. My father had spent some time living there as a child, and I’d always hoped I’d end up there someday.

At the end of the day, our college experiences are what we make of them. I chose one of spontaneity, adventure, and discipline, and it informs my passion and dedication to my work every day. I am so grateful that I chose to get a liberal arts education.

While in India, we were directed to complete an extensive research paper on a topic of our choice. Surprise! I chose food. I ended up staying there an additional semester, traveling and exploring, eating, and learning to cook. I fell in love with travel, with India, and with cooking, and when I came back, I began to cook obsessively as a way of stress relief. I also cooked my way into the hearts of my four college roommates.
 
I began working for a local catering company the following summer, and when I finished school, I had already begun to cater for my friends’ birthdays, weddings, and events on my own. In 1998, I formed my own official catering company, and I have been my own boss ever since.
 
My college years provided exposure to learning and adventure that I wouldn’t have had if I’d chosen another path. Both my time spent at Lewis & Clark as well as my time abroad really gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams. I never settled, and I have continued to search for perfection.
 
At the end of the day, our college experiences are what we make of them. I chose one of spontaneity, adventure, and discipline, and it informs my passion and dedication to my work every day. I am so grateful that I chose to get a liberal arts education. Who knows where it might lead you? It opens doors and gives a rounded sense of ease and self-confidence that anything can be achieved.
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