Olympia Provisions Chef/Owner/Salumist Elias Cairo is a first generation Greek-American who learned the craft of charcuterie by watching his father, who cured meat at the family's home in Salt Lake City. These old world preparations and preservation techniques set the foundation for his lifelong fascination with meat. Elias started cooking at a young age in his father's restaurants, and at the age of 20 began a trade apprenticeship in Switzerland, where for over four years he was taught classic techniques of cooking, butchery, and charcuterie by renowned European chef Annegret Schlumpf. During that time, he also attended Berufsschule in Wattwil, Switzerland for formal culinary education. From Switzerland, Elias moved to Kos, Greece to apprentice in a hotel kitchen, developing menu items based on the daily harvest of local farmers and fishermen.
Upon returning to the United States, Elias relocated to Portland, Oregon, lured by the city's growing reputation for nurturing culinary talent. Beginning as a line cook at the venerable restaurant Castagna, he worked his way up to the position of sous chef in less than a year, eventually earning the title of Executive Chef. In the summer of 2009, Elias left Castagna to open Olympia Provisions, Oregon's first USDA-certified meat curing facility, and two European-style deli and restaurants.
At Olympia Provisions, Elias approaches the craft of charcuterie with purity and patience. The Olympia Provisions team butchers antibiotic-free Pacific Northwest pork, holding its cured meats in natural casings. Olympia Provisions was highlighted in the 2012 Saveur Top 100, and featured in national media outlets such as Bon Appétit, Oprah, Food & Wine, TastingTable.com, Martha Stewart, Esquire, Yahoo! Food, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Food Republic, The Huffington Post, Details, Inc., Food 52, Eater, The New Yorker and The New York Times. Olympia Provisions is also a two-time Sofi Awards finalist and the recipient of eight Good Food Awards.
When he's not curing meat and trying new foods, Elias spends much of his free time in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, fly fishing and rock climbing. His adventurous spirit has brought on many adventures both local and worldwide, and shows no signs of stopping.