Margot Leonard was born in Chicago in 1962 and lived there until her family moved to San Francisco fourteen years later. They bought a dairy farm in the Napa Valley, planted grapes and eventually moved there to live full-time. Margot went to Skidmore College in New York and then pursued photography at San Francisco Art Institute. After graduation she spent two years travelling the world, including Europe, India, and Indonesia.
Margot’s mother and father loved to entertain and provided lavish meals for large crowds like the San Francisco ballet, replete with an orchestra playing in the backyard. Her mom and dad would cook for days, and Margot loved to help. She worked with her father in the banking business for a short while, but realized her passion was food, and all she wanted to do was work in a restaurant. She moved to Portland on New Year’s Day in 1988.
Her first restaurant job was at the Hillsdale McMenamins where she served beer, made hamburgers and loved it. In 1990 she went to Western Culinary Institute and spent her externship at Square One, in San Francisco, with Joyce Goldstein, who wanted to hire her. Margot returned to Portland and got a job as a sous chef at Regions, then moved onto Zefiro as a line cook. There she met her first business partner and started Armadillo catering, which she sold to her partner in 1995 so she could go to La Varenne Cooking School for a six-week intensive program in Joigny, France. After, she was offered an internship at restaurant L’Essentiel, in the French Alps for the summer and took it.
Upon her return, she formed a partnership with Chris Hollern and Bima restaurant was born. Bima was a pioneer in the Pearl, before there was Oba, Paragon and other businesses. In 1999 Margot had a son, she and Chris sold Bima and she took over the running of Holdens, a breakfast and lunch deli they had opened around the corner. Finding that parenting was her priority, Margot took a job with Grand Central Baking in 2005 as a store manager and is now the Director of Sales for the company. She still does some catering on the side, but leaves some time for her son Nick, who’s now thirteen.
Margot is thrilled to relive the ol’ Bima days with this menu…enjoy!
fresh spinach, mushrooms, red onions & blue cheese tossed with a bourbon brown sugar dressing
Chili Prawn Corn Cakes
pan-fried, with prawns, corn, green onions, chipotle peppers & cilantro, topped with a sour cream drizzle & pico de gallo (salsa)
with a creole mustard drizzle, grilled green onion polenta cakes & braised collard greens with bacon
slow-cooked arborio rice with andouille sausage, prawns, onions, roasted red peppers & cilantro
Chocolate Tres Leches Cake
moist chocolate cake with a chocolate three-milk sauce, topped with a chocolate truffle frosting
Myer’s rum, Cointreau, fresh lime, orange & pineapple juice