Ava Gene's Joshua McFadden's Fridge Is Full of Fancy Water and Fermented Things
All photos by the author.

Ava Gene's Joshua McFadden's Fridge Is Full of Fancy Water and Fermented Things

Can an unopened jar of chocolate spread be "art"?
October 8, 2018, 5:54pm

Welcome to Fridge Tours, where we peek inside the personal refrigerators of chefs, bartenders, and food world personalities to see how they eat off the clock, in the privacy of their own homes. For our latest invasion of privacy, we visited Joshua McFadden, chef and owner of Portland's popular Ava Gene's, to see what embarrassing things we could find in his kitchen.

Chef and cookbook author Joshua McFadden lives in the heart of Portland, Oregon, right on the east side of the Burnside Bridge. I head up to the floor of his high-rise, wandering the hallway, searching for his apartment number, only to find that he had mistakenly given me the wrong one. Fortunately, he peeks his head out from down the hall and I'm able to head into his perfectly curated apartment, art adorning the walls and plants hanging out in the light of the windows.


I had just come from Serra, a dispensary on the other side of the Burnside Bridge, where they just so happened to be selling the CBD chocolate that he’d teamed up with them to make. We crack open the white and shiny blue packaging and break off a piece of chocolate to try (it’s the first time he’s sampled it himself since it’s been on the market). And so begins my shoot with Joshua.

Name: Joshua McFadden

Job: Executive Chef & Owner Ava Gene’s, Co-founder Submarine Hospitality

What's the oldest thing in your fridge? I have an unopened jar of chocolate spread from Mr. Holmes. I find it inspiring, so it’s basically refrigerator art.

A Mr. Holmes chocolate spread of indeterminate age.

What do you always keep in there? Water, lots of water.

Pitchers of water with Japanese charcoal filters, and of course an Aarke pitcher, taking up prime fridge real estate. Plus a week's worth of kombucha, and Siggi's brand drinkable yogurt.

Favorite condiment? Jam and hot sauce. It’s a tie. My favorite hot sauce is Sriracha.

What do you use the CBD oil for? I put it in my morning shakes, on the days I don’t work—but I work every day, so who knows.

I noticed a lot of fermented stuff in there… kombucha, kimchi, siggi's, etc. You really look after your gut health, huh? Kimchi is the best quick snack, and I add it to vegetable and grain sautés.

A crisper drawer stuffed with lacinato kale.

What do you do with the kale? I sauté it super quick, add in kimchi, topped with some crunchy bits, hot sauce, and go.

I never keep coconut oil in the fridge—how do you use coconut oil? Popcorn!!!!! It’s the best of the best for popcorn.

What’s up with your fancy water situation? I can’t live without sparkling water. [The Aarke] is the best machine on the market—I make all kinds of fruit syrups and more.

This home water carbonation machine lets McFadden cut waaaay down on LaCroix spending by letting him make his own fruit-infused seltzers at home.