9-Course Spiel: Martina Kostow of Loveski Deli

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Soon you’ll be eating our Everything Bagel Seasoning straight out of the jar, and one of the people you’ll want to thank for that is Loveski Deli cofounder, Martina Kostow: Oregonian, longtime friend of the brand, and an award-winning communications professional with over 20 years in the food and beverage industry, to name a few things. Read below to learn her go-to bagel order, where the idea for Loveski came from, what she likes to cook when no one is around, and more!

1. How did Loveski come to be? Can you name the moment when you and Christopher realized you needed to start this company, and what inspired you both?

There wasn’t necessarily an “a-ha” moment. We have talked about several different concepts over the years. Early in the pandemic, when we were at home, there was a lot of contemplation on what was next for us, both personally and professionally. When Oxbow Public Market approached us about the space, we knew Loveski would be the perfect next project for us to build and grow together.

2. What is your bagel order?

Growing up my go-to was simply a plain bagel and cream cheese. Now when I’m at the shop I indulge with a toasted Jacobsen Sea Salt bagel (Loveski’s “plain” bagel equivalent), topped with our Smoked Salmon spread.

3. How does the Loveski brand differ from your other ventures?

This is the first time ideating a QSR concept versus full-service restaurant and building something from scratch that’s completely ours- we designed the space, conceptualized the branding, and worked through the R+D process together with our team. It’s a validating experience to see guests in the space and enjoying what we’ve all created. 

4. Your site explains how you pickle vegetables straight from the garden. Can you talk more about your favorite things to grow and ferment?

We both love fermented products, and you see that reflected in dishes at all our restaurants. My personal favorites are pickled vegetables, kimchi, and various hot sauces.

5. The first thing you ever learned to cook– what was it and who taught you?

I can’t remember the first thing I learned to cook but cooking and baking was an integral part of my childhood and upbringing. My earliest memories are of being by my Mom and my Grandma’s side assisting and watching them in the kitchen.

6. What is one thing you learned from working in the restaurant industry that you feel influences your home kitchen every day?

We have a strong focus on quality ingredients in all our restaurants and it’s what we look for as diners when we go out. This industry has educated me on knowing where our food comes from, the benefits of certain foods, and how to cook fresh ingredients properly- this has allowed me to prepare healthy meals for our family at home.

7. When no one else is around, what do you find yourself cooking or eating?

If I am cooking for myself, and myself only, I’m cooking something as easy as possible with the least amount of prep and dishes. I love eggs every way, especially a Thai egg omelet with fish sauce over steamed rice.

8. What’s one seemingly overlooked or simple ingredient or pantry item that’s been a game-changer for the way you cook? 

Jacobsen Salt Co. Pure Flake Salt was initially gifted to me and is now a staple in our kitchen. It's what we use to finish all our food, from our eggs in the morning to our vegetables at night. A bowl sits on our cutting board, and we refill it often – it’s probably on every item that comes out of our kitchen. 

9. How has your Thai heritage influenced the way you cook for others or see culinary traditions?

My heritage and family’s culinary traditions have definitely shaped my love and respect for food as well as how I cook, but I would say that our culinary experiences while traveling are what continue to influence and inspire me.

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