Nestled in the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley southwest of Eugene, you’ll find a 1,000+ acre organic paradise. King Estate is well known the world over for its Pinots and opens its doors daily for tastings and tours, yet what makes this diamond in the valley shine so extraordinarily is its gourmet restaurant.
Get to know Rebecca Liddle Maglangque, King Estate’s Executive Pastry Chef
Who inspired you to become a pastry chef?
I have been fortunate to have many women in my family who helped me learn about food and baking from very different angles. My grandmothers both taught me about harvesting fresh produce and using what is seasonal; my mother taught me how to bake cookies and my great-grandmother’s banana cake; and my stepmother signed me up for all her work’s cookie exchanges (even when I didn’t live in the state!) since she can’t bake to save her life. She is, however, an excellent cook, and I learned a lot from her and her gargantuan recipe book collection. After that, I had a long run working with my great friend and pastry mentor, Tobi Sovak, who opened Noisette Pastry Kitchen.
If you could only make and/or eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Thai noodle dishes and beer. A spicy Tofu Pad Kee Mao and I’m good to go. On the sweet side, ice cream. I forget how much I enjoy it until I fall in love with a new flavor.
What do you do when you’re not in the kitchen?
I sing with two local choirs, doing about 4-6 shows a season. I also coordinate a lot of fun things with my large group of friends from a social networking site, like scavenger hunts, game nights, and even a weekend Summer Olympics. This will be our fifth scavenger hunt in June!
What do you enjoy most about living and working in the Willamette Valley?
The berries. I am a berry fiend! I live near the Willamette River Bike Path and the first year I was here I walked down the path all the time, stuffing my face with blackberries.
What is the most interesting fact about the King Estate Restaurant that no one knows?
How gorgeous it is here in the winter. The people overflow our grounds in the summer, but the winter is really my favorite time. All the fog clouds hovering in the hollows of our valley in the morning is breathtaking.
What do you think drives visitors to the Estate instead of simply choosing a restaurant in town?
We are truly a destination more than we are just a restaurant, or even a winery. There’s a reason why we have visitors from all over the world, as well as all our local regulars. Could you get a glass of our wine in town? Absolutely. Could you have a nice patio brunch? Sure. But King Estate is more than just that. We have the wine, the food, the setting…together, it’s all a perfect pairing — a true sum of our parts.
What’s the absolute greatest thing to ever happen at the restaurant?
For the past three years, I’ve made a gingerbread version of the winery. It’s about four feet long, two feet deep, and the towers are about 15 inches tall. We do lights inside, the whole nine yards. Every morning, I come up and inspect the damage from the day before. Little kids – and some big kids, let’s be honest – pick at the corners, or the pretzel and gumdrop fence. It’s always fun to see how “enjoyed” it is!
If you could give customers one tip for ordering dessert at King Estate, what would it be?
I love making ice cream and sorbets. I used to scoop at a place in Boston when I was in school, and I just love it. If you’re a fan of well-textured, well balanced ice cream, I recommend those. Otherwise, we have our standards that I get complaints if I take off the menu, but the off-the-beaten path desserts are where I would go. Currently, I have an almond-poppy seed cake with blueberry compote, spiced Syrah ice cream (there we go with the ice cream!), and a lavender tuile. Red Ape Cinnamon is featured in the ice cream as well as the cake, as is our NxNW Syrah, estate berries, and estate lavender.
What are important factors to you when sourcing ingredients?
Organic is important, but so is using locally grown that can’t afford the certification. I’m very fortunate to have an organic farm outside my bakery door, so I use our product as much as possible.
What drew you to Red Ape organic cinnamon?
I enjoy being a customer of Red Ape Cinnamon. I feel that the company’s business practices and goals are in line with what we strive for at King Estate, and it’s a great product. I don’t need to use nearly as much cinnamon in my recipes because the flavor is fresher and more present than most other brands.
What menu items do you make with our cinnamon?
I use it in the ever-popular Bourbon Bread Pudding – I can’t take it off the menu! Currently, it’s featured in the Almond-Poppy Seed Cake and Spiced Syrah Ice Cream. It’s also been in our Cinnamon Ice Cream paired with my favorite Pecan Tart. I also use quite a bit in the Candied Bacon Ice Cream. We’ve done that in a profiterole as well as a Candied Bacon Ice Cream S’more with our own cinnamon graham crackers.
All photos © All rights reserved by KingEstateWinery
80854 Territorial Hwy
Eugene, OR 97405
Lunch: 11-4:30 Monday-Friday
Dinner: 5:30-9 Daily (Summer hours)
Brunch: 11-4:30 Saturday and Sunday
Author: Lori Smart