Sponsored by FareStart
Pulling up to Alderbrook Resort & Spa, you immediately feel the romance and enchantment of a bygone era. The luxury resort, just two hours from Seattle along the Hood Canal, first opened in 1913. Years (and several renovations) later, it's still drawing guests looking for a relaxing weekend respite.
Among its many amenities is the Restaurant at Alderbrook, a shore-to-table dining experience (items like oysters and clams come straight from its beach) helmed by executive sous chef Adam Hagen. Hagen brings his training in French cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu and Portland's Western Culinary Institute to Alderbook's impressive, ever-changing menu.
He'll do the same on November 3 when he hosts FareStart's Guest Chef Night, the social enterprise nonprofit's weekly dinner series in which students assist notable chefs in preparing a three-course meal for more than 300 hungry diners at its downtown restaurant.
"If you watch a graduation ceremony, it's a truly moving experience to see how grateful each of the graduates are during their final stage of culinary school," Hagen says. He first got involved with FareStart through a former executive chef at Alderbrook. "So many people want help, but don’t know how to receive it. Having been affected by addiction in my personal life gives FareStart a special place in my heart."
Expect delicacies including an oyster stew, roasted chicken with wild mushrooms and chocolate molten cake with bacon brittle on the November Guest Chef Night menu. What's more, Alderbrook Resort’s recently launched private label Selkie Cider from Finnriver Farms will be on the menu for one night only at FareStart. It’s always available at Alderbrook Resort. Also that evening, Alderbrook Resort & Spa has donated an overnight stay in a drawing open to all diners. Make your reservations now and, in the meantime, get acquainted with the evening's guest chef below—including how he got into the restaurant business and which celebrities he'd invite to dinner.
Mowing the yard, doing laundry, cleaning the bathrooms and doing other household chores as an adolescent. Professionally, I bagged groceries at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for tips only, no hourly wage.
What's your favorite thing on the menu at The Restaurant at Alderbook Resort?
Our RR Ranch Wagyu steak; it changes almost daily but the quality of the meat is phenomenal.
What celebrity--living or dead--would you want to have dinner with?
I’d like to pick two and it’d be more of a camping trip; John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt, both avid outdoorsmen who did so much to make sure our wilderness is still here and that we can enjoy it. The three of us would likely sit around an open campfire while roasting some freshly harvested buffalo or elk and eat it with our hands.
Why did you become a chef?
I got a prep/dishwasher job in high school and the kitchen culture sucked me in.
What is your favorite FareStart experience?
Working with the students and getting to teach them new things and expose them to what we do.
Why are you doing Guest Chef Night?
It always makes me feel really good afterwards.
How would you describe working with the FareStart students and chefs at Guest Chef Night?
The students are always willing to soak up new knowledge and are extremely respectful of any member of our chef team. The chef team at FareStart is always willing to lend a hand with whatever is deemed necessary to make working in an unfamiliar kitchen a success for us.
Is there anything you were surprised to learn about FareStart after doing Guest Chef Night?
I had never heard of it before I was asked to attend it. I had no idea there was a program like it.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
My uncle told me after I was born to buy low and sell high.
And the worst?
The common misconception of a low-fat diet for health.
Learn more about FareStart at FareStart.org