Portland chef makes history as PAM’s first Black caterer

Cooking With B. Love is a catering business owned by Portland native Brittinie Love. She offers a variety of foods. From left to right: shrimp and grits, fried chicken with mac and cheese and cabbage, and lamb chops with sautéed spinach and sweet potato mash. Photo courtesy Cooking with B. Love

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One Portland chef just made history as the first Black caterer to be added to the Portland Art Museum’s list of preferred vendors.

On Saturday, Nov. 12, PAM Venues announced Cooking With B. Love as its newest exclusive catering partner. The food business, founded by Portland native Brittinie Love, has soared to new heights since it made its Instagram debut in October 2020.

Love remembers having an appreciation for food even at a young age, when she would spend hours watching the Food Network and “The Emeril Lagassé Show.” But as an adult, she has spent five years of her career working with the Oregon Department of Human Services.

It wasn’t until just a couple of years ago that she went all-in on pursuing her passion for food.

“I think while the pandemic happened, you just start feeling that, ‘What’s what gets me up every day? What gives me that drive? What brings me joy?’” she said. “I think the line of work that I’ve done at DHS is good work, but ultimately I was like, ‘I want to get into something that is going to literally motivate me and make me happy and put a smile on my face.’”

After a long stretch of cooking privately in her apartment, Love decided to share her talents with a larger audience. That is when she began live-streaming online, introducing her followers to simple recipes that they could make at home.

“I had people continuing to follow and once we started breaking out of the pandemic, folks started reaching out a little bit more about doing private dinners and parties and large events. I would say literally within the last year, things have just been taking off,” Love said.

Chef Brittinie Love owns catering business Cooking With B. Love. You can book her for your next event.

So far, the chef has cooked food for the Children’s Institute, Life Change Church PDX, her own Brunches with Britt and more. Although, one particular catering gig is what led her to becoming a PAM-preferred vendor.

“I walk every day, and I ran into this beautiful Black woman. Her name is Mary Morton. And we would see each other on a trail all the time. We would say hello and I passed her my business card one day, and she was like, ‘I would really love to maybe have you come for a girls’ brunch or something like that,” Love recalled.

In July 2022, certified executive coach Morton held an event called Living From the Inside Out in PAM’s Fields Sunken Ballroom. The museum already had a list of preferred vendors, many of which weren’t available and none of which helped Morton with her goal of supporting Black businesses.

This gave Love the chance to cater her first event with PAM. Just a few days later, she signed a contract to become the ninth vendor — in addition to being the first Black vendor. And she intends to help other up and coming chefs of color.

“I think the significance really is that I got my foot in the door, but it’s going to create opportunities for other people. I’ve already created a level of impact so that maybe I can be an inspiration for somebody to break those doors down,” Love said.

The 33-year-old chef is now planning for her sold-out Friendsgiving event that takes place on Friday, Nov. 17. Although, that’s not all that she has in store.

“I am small, but I’m doing big things,” Love said. “I’m just excited… I tell people, ‘Always remember: when you’re cooking with love, it always tastes better.”