Meet the people who wash your dishes.
The Dishwasher Project is an intimate portrayal and tribute to the men and women behind Portland’s celebrated culinary scene. The paintings seek to honor the individual, their lives in the back of the house, and humanize the grueling work of keeping the restaurant service moving. Our hope for this project is to plant a question in the minds of patrons of these restaurants with rock-star-status chefs who, truly, are only as good as their team. We took the most unsavory of these positions, the individuals who see the aftermath of a meal and live in the steam, soap and waste of an otherwise glorious experience. We hope to give a face and history to the hands that hold our dishes. We are humbled to have their stories to share, and hope that the next time you spend a Sunday afternoon indulging in a five-star brunch, you’ll consider the people for which there is no James Beard Award, but should garner your esteem.
Natalie Sept began this project in 2010 during her time at Papa Haydn restaurant where she was a pastry tech, and began to take notice of the dishwashers who often times where coming from another job and leaving to the next after their time washing dishes. Israel Bayer joined Natalie in 2012 and began taking photographs for the project. You can view it tonight for a one-night-only show in The Cleaners at Ace Hotel Portland.
Pictured here in order are Efrain, Katrine, Maestro and George.