I grew up in Federal Way, Washington, at a time when the town was virtually a bedroom community of Boeing. Having an aptitude for math and science, I made the natural mistake of assuming that I would become an engineer at Boeing. This mistaken idea would persist through Undergraduate and Masters degrees in Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Washington and 5 years on the job at Boeing.
My education was financed from age 15 by kitchen jobs, beginning as a dishwasher and later as a line cook. Although the restaurants where I worked were of limited quality, I loved the excitement, the camaraderie and the daily sense of accomplishment that kitchen work gave me.
Time brings wisdom, they say, and after five years at Boeing, it was clear to me that engineering was not my life’s passion. Since I spent most of my free time cooking for myself and my wife Sheila and also catering for friends and parties, working toward a career in the kitchen seemed like an obvious next step. Sheila agreed to put her career in fashion merchandising on hold and, in 1990, we moved to Paris, where I entered the Culinary Arts program at L’École Supérieur de Cuisine Francaise Jean Ferrandi, a public vocational high school run by the Paris Chamber of Commerce. During our stay in Paris, I passed the examinations for my Certificate d’Aptitude Professionnelle and also worked at several restaurants, including Le Boudin Sauvage and Michelin rated Le Coq de la Maison Blanche.
After our return to Seattle, I was lucky enough to work under the brilliant Joseph McDonnal at the Market Place Caterers and with James Beard Award winning chef Tamara Murphy at Campagne Restaurant and Café Campagne, where I eventually became Executive Chef.
In 2000, I left Campagne to open Le Pichet with longtime friend and colleague Joanne Herron. Le Pichet was our attempt at bringing to Seattle the warmth, congeniality and casual élan of a neighborhood Paris bistro. In 2007, Joanne and I opened our version of a Paris Bar-Café, which we called Café Presse. I hope it is fair to say that both Le Pichet and Café Presse became essential social centers in their neighborhoods, as well as much loved restaurants. Joanne and I would oversee Le Pichet for 22 years, Café Presse for 15 years, before deciding to move on in 2022. Le Pichet is still open and serving its neighborhood, now under the direction of long-time employees and new owners Michael Chick and Marcel Boulanger.
I love to shop for food, whether it is at the local farmer’s markets in the small shops of the Pike Place Market or in Seattle’s International District. I am convinced that a love of shopping for food is absolutely central to eating well. Of course I dining out, especially long lunches, as well as cooking at home, where I like to try new techniques and recipes.
A few other things I am passionate about: Reading; Letter writing; Our house in Orthez, France where we hope to retire; Travel; The social aspects of eating, shopping and cooking.