Seattle Line Cooks' Family Tree

Ever wondered where your favorite chef got his or her start? We think you’ll find our food family breakdown a fascinating lesson in Seattle’s restaurant genealogy
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Ever wondered where your favorite chef got his or her start? It is a snug culinary family tree here in Seattle, and the branches continue to flourish. While these chefs were pretty tight-lipped about the next round of stars coming out of their kitchens (can you blame them?), we think you’ll find our food family breakdown a fascinating lesson in Seattle’s restaurant genealogy.

Ethan Stowell
Worked under Nell’s chef/owner Philip Mihalski from 1999 to 2001, and then opened the ahead-of-its time Union, which closed in 2010. Today, Stowell owns 13 restaurants, including Tavolàta, How to Cook a Wolf and Brambling Cross.

Brian Clevenger
Cooked at Tavolàta and Staple & Fancy before opening Italian restaurant Vendemmia, followed by East Anchor Seafood, a seafood market and oyster bar next door. His latest, slated to open in late fall, is Raccolto in West Seattle.

Monica Dimas
Worked at Anchovies & Olives and Mkt. before launching her company, Milkwood & Co., which includes pop-ups Neon Taco (in Nacho Borracho); Sunset Fried Chicken Sandwiches (at Rachel’s Ginger Beer) and walk-up window Tortas Condesa. 

John Sundstrom
Chef de cuisine at Dahlia Lounge (mega restaurateur Tom Douglas’ first restaurant) from 1993 to 1999, and then W Hotel’s Earth and Ocean (now Trace) before opening Capitol Hill spots Lark, Licorous (now closed), Bitter/Raw, Slab Sandwiches and Pie and his latest, Southpaw.

Wiley Frank
Sous-chef at Licorous and Lark from 2008 to 2010 before opening Little Uncle with Poncharee Kounpungchart in 2010.

Gordon Wishard
Worked at Licorous from 2006 to 2009 before becoming the chef and later co-owner of La Medusa.

Ben Campbell
Current head baker at Lark and owner, with his wife, Megan, of Ben’s Bread, a small-batch, artisan bread bakery.

Renee Erickson
Owned Boat Street Cafe before selling it in 2015. Today, she owns The Whale Wins, The Walrus and the Carpenter, Barnacle, Bateau, Bar Melusine and General Porpoise (a doughnut shop). 

Brandon Pettit
Worked at Boat Street Cafe before opening New York Times favorite Delancey with wife Molly Wizenberg in 2009, followed by Essex next door in 2012 and Dino’s Tomato Pie on Capitol Hill in March 2016.

Shawn Mead
Worked on the front-of-the-house service team at The Walrus and the Carpenter from 2011 to 2013 before opening Vif Wine/Coffee with Lauren Feldman in Fremont in 2013. 

Kit Schumann
Worked as baker and eventually sous-chef at The Whale Wins (2012–2015) before starting the bakery Sea Wolf with his brother, Jesse, in 2014. (Renee Erickson was their first customer.) The duo opened a shop this year on Stone Way N.

Joe Sundberg, Rachel Johnson, Patrick Thalasinos, Alex Barkley
Worked at The Walrus and the Carpenter and The Whale Wins before opening Manolin (manolinseattle.com) in 2014. Whale alum Barkley is executive chef; the others are co-owners. 

Shiro Kashiba
After apprenticing with world-renowned sushi maestro Jiro Ono of Yoshino Sushi in Tokyo, Kashiba opened his namesake, Shiro’s, in 1994, followed by Nikko and, most recently, Sushi Kashiba in Pike Place Market.

Kotaro Kumita 
Worked for Kashiba in the late 1990s and again in 2014; opened Wataru in Ravenna in 2015.

Taichi Kitamura 
Worked at Shiro’s from 1995 to 1999 before opening Sushi Kappo Tamura in Eastlake in 2010. 

Matt Dillon
Worked under Jerry Traunfeld, at the time executive chef at The Herbfarm (now chef/owner of Poppy and Lionhead on Capitol Hill), then went on to open Sitka & Spruce, The Corson Building, Upper Bar Ferdinand, Bar Sajor, The London Plane, Lower Bar Ferdinand and Ciudad. 

Edouardo Jordan
Worked at Dillon’s Bar Sajor and Sitka & Spruce before opening Salare in Ravenna, which made our 2016 Best Restaurants list. He will open Southern food-focused JuneBaby also in Ravenna in 2017.

Nick Coffey 
Worked at Sitka & Spruce and now helms the grill at Ciudad. 

Emily Crawford
Served as co-chef (with Matt Dillon) of The Corson Building its opening in 2008 to 2011. Since then, she’s run the kitchen as chef de cuisine.

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This article appears in print in the February 2018 issue

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