The Taste of Seattle
Snow-capped mountains in the distance, dream-like houseboats, hills to climb. A sense of welcome and pride, that accompany the best tastes of the Pacific Northwest.
This is Seattle!
Be inspired by the taste of Seattle. Let’s taste what’s hot on plates right now, and consider how you might apply that to your restaurant menu.
Let’s start our tour at Pike Place Market ~ the heart of tastes from farmers, fishermen and artisanal producers. This market was Seattle’s original farmers’ market, established in 1907.
Rainier cherries are bright and refreshing … Copper River salmon is ready for the grill … and flowers, flowers, flowers everywhere.
Seattle Trend #1
The overwhelming message at Pike Place Market is “Know your producer.” It’s all about pride of the tastes from local producers and using the freshest ingredients possible.
Spend some time at your local farmers’ markets to be inspired by the fresh tastes you can apply to your menus.
Just when you start to feel like lunch, head over to Serious Pie for a pizza unlike any other.
The olive oil dough is baked in a 600 degree, stone-encased Applewood-burning oven. The appetizer of local beets, rhubarb yogurt and pistachio butter was fabulous!
Serious Pie is part of Chef Tom Douglas’s growing list of Seattle restaurants.
Seattle Trend #2
Seasonal tastes like rhubarb are great to feature on menus. Serious Pie focuses on “Seasonal with a Twist” – their rhubarb yogurt with pistachio butter is a savoury twist on the flavour of rhubarb.
Lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables can be updated. Try strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper on vanilla ice cream for a twist. Think about using sweet and heat in a recipe like peaches with jalapeno honey as a glaze for grilled chicken!
When I hear about restaurants that are worth booking a plane ticket for, I know Copine in Seattle belongs on the list.
Chef Shaun McCrain has quite a background: working at Taillevent in Paris, and being part of the opening team with Chef Thomas Keller at Per Se in NYC & Michael Mina in San Francisco, just to name a few.
This is hospitality. From the greeting at the door (from Shaun’s wife Jill Kinney, who has worked with Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten, Thomas Keller and others) to the last taste of dessert, Copine is perfection.
It’s hard to pick a favourite dish, but the slow-poached egg served with house-made tagliatelle and crispy La Quercia ham in a Parmesan broth is a great start. The caramelized sea scallops are melt-in-your-mouth, while the truffle hash browns, red onion marmalade and sauce perigourdine served with the wagyu is exquisite. Save room for the vanilla-scented coconut tapioca with caramelized pineapple, candied macadamia nuts and coconut sorbet.
This kind of attention to detail, plate presentation and taste ensures a food and dining memory that will linger.
Seattle Trend #3
Copine’s “Small Portions with Big Tastes” are filled with great flavours and meticulous presentation. The trend of serving smaller portions lets your guests enjoy more dishes from your kitchen.
Look at what your food industry peers are doing, and use that as a springboard to bring “Innovation and Inspiration” into your organization. Whether it’s for the front of house or the kitchen team, an external view brings new enthusiasm, learning, and great tastes that shine on a menu.
Dinner at Staple & Fancy is like sitting down at a best friend’s dinner table ~ well, if that table was in a vineyard in Italy with friends and family, and if the chef was a world-class innovator and host like Chef Ethan Stowell. Chef Stowell currently offers 13 restaurant choices in Seattle.
Staple & Fancy is an Italian-inspired destination that has a ‘staple’ menu, of creative a la carte choices, and a ‘fancy’ menu, where you relax and let the kitchen show off the dishes that feature the best of the Pacific Northwest, house-made specialties and dishes to surprise and delight your palate.
Incredible, gooey, savoury burrata with a pine nut and red pepper pesto, currants and wild watercress with peppery arugula is a great start. The tender pappardelle with beef & pork Bolognese, mint and ricotta reminded me of a dish of pasta in Campo de Fiori in Rome. And the ravioli with ricotta, pea vine, snap pea and Meyer lemon is a taste of spring on a plate. (The photo of burrata is featured at the top of the story; the pappardelle is below.)
Seattle Trend #4
Food memories – we can all remember a fabulous meal, dish, or service experience that was meaningful. Staple & Fancy transforms food memories into creative and innovative dishes.
Think of places you have travelled and tastes you remember, then bring them to life on your menu. This is also a great team-building event that gets everyone thinking about the food!
Book a trip to enjoy the taste of Seattle … food memories await.
Taste! Taste! Taste!
Christine Couvelier is a Global Culinary Trendologist, Executive Chef and Culinary Executive. Christine is the past Executive Chef of President’s Choice, the Director of Culinary & Beverage/Executive Chef at Cara Operations, and the Chair of The Chef School of George Brown College. She worked on global innovation for Unilever and was the first Director of Culinary Strategy at Maple Leaf Foods. Currently, Christine continues to educate, teach, and inspire her customers through her consulting company Culinary Concierge, where she provides culinary solutions to assist clients in launching on-trend, on-time great tasting food products and menu items. For more information, contact Christine by email at taste@ culinaryconcierge.ca or visit www.culinaryconcierge.ca.