A restaurant serving innovative cuisine from the eastern Mediterranean and beyond. Drawing from extensive research and travels to Israel and surrounding areas, the menu features exceptional plates that are culturally diverse yet cohesive, paying tribute to the exploration of people across the Mediterranean throughout history. In an open and vibrant atmosphere with an industrial-meets-refined décor in Portland’s Pearl District, M.E.C. encourages family-style dining and features a playful beverage program with nods to the flavors of the Mediterranean.
John Gorham is Co-Owner and Executive Chef of iconic Portland restaurants Toro Bravo, Tasty n Daughters, Tasty n Alder, Mediterranean Exploration Company, Shalom Y'all, and PLAZA DEL TORO, a gastronomic society / event space. Gorham believes that a chef’s cuisine and style is influenced by a trade route composed of travels, past work, cities lived in, and foods that their family made growing up. A ‘chef of the people’, Gorham celebrates a range of global cuisines at his influential restaurants; each with a unique identity but all embodying the quintessential Portland dining experience of family-style dishes, house-made charcuterie and seasonal sustainably-sourced ingredients.
Kasey Mills is Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Mediterranean Exploration Company (M.E.C.), Shalom Y'all, and Bless Your Heart Burgers. Mills opened M.E.C in July 2014 with mentor and Portland restaurateur John Gorham, owner of Toro Bravo, Tasty n Daughters and Tasty n Alder. Mills and Gorham have worked closely together since opening Toro Bravo in 2007.
Inspired by the way a region’s cuisine tells a story of its peoples’ interactions and exchanges over time, Mills aims to bring the rich cultural history of the eastern Mediterranean to the Pacific Northwest. His menu of diverse yet cohesive dishes pays tribute to the exploration of people across the Mediterranean throughout history.
Ron is John's & Kasey's business partner. Ron grew up in Israel at Vered Hagalil - a horseback riding guest ranch founded by his parents. He moved to the USA shortly after completing the mandatory Israeli army service, went to the University of Texas in Austin, and then moved to Houston to complete his Electrical Engineering degree in the University of Houston. Ron worked for a NASA contractor for a few years (“No John, I was NOT responsible for the shuttle accident”), before founding Aristo Computers – a software development company. Ron sold his company in 1999 and, following a long-time passion for good food, enrolled at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, putting a checkmark on one of his “bucket-list” entries.
Ron got a job under Chef John Gorham at Simpatica, and when John decided to move on to start a new venture in 2007, the two joined their shared passion for good food and hospitality to open Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons, and Tasty n Alder. After years of pestering John and Kasey (Chef Mills) about Israeli cuisine and the ways it has been influenced by local Arabic foods and Jewish immigrants from around the Mediterranean, the trio finally took a trip to Israel early in 2014, where Ron introduced them to his favorite foods during a week of binge-eating around the country – an experience that is woven into the cuisine of M.E.C. and Shalom Y'all. Ron enjoys keeping his low profile in the background, trying to stay out of the way while John, Kasey, and their team run the restaurants.