Can a fox be slow? Will a Cincinnati chili parlor work in the Pacific Northwest? These are some of the many mysteries of Slow Fox Chili Parlor, which recently opened in the Columbia Food Park on Seventh Street between Main and Broadway in downtown Vancouver.
Derek Saner, chef and owner of Slow Fox, fell in love with food service while attending art school and working at the Chart House in Newport, Ky.
“I had a knack for it. I loved going to work, going into battle and succeeding and being part of a family,” he said.
Saner attended the Midwest Culinary Institute, then worked at Orchids at Palm Court, a fine-dining restaurant in the swanky Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, where chef Todd Kelly was shaking up the Cincinnati food scene.
Saner moved to Portland and became chef at Screen Door in Portland and sous chef at Mingo West in Beaverton. The move to the Pacific Northwest didn’t erase Saner’s love for his hometown fare. Though he frequently moved around the Cincinnati area during his childhood, “there was always a chili parlor in my life,” he explained.