Danielle Custer, TASTE Restaurant's director, announced yesterday that she will leave the restaurant to pursue opening Monte Cristo: Seattle’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese and Mobile Melts. Look for the food truck sometime in the spring. According to the press release, the truck will offer "grilled cheese sandwiches made with hand-crafted, artisan cheeses and breads." In addition, Monte Cristo will also offer soups and "a diverse assortment of gooey, salty, crunchy, warm and melty, cheesy foods."
Though her role as an overseer at TASTE has taken her away from the kitchen, Custer has garnered quite the acclaim for her cooking chops. On hearing the news, The Herbfarm's owner Ron Zimmerman tweeted, "Goodness! Danielle Custer leaving @bamco to open a gourmet grilled cheese truck. Admire her food, looking forward to this."
Custer began her Seattle career as chef de cuisine at Fuller’s at the Sheraton Hotel in the early ‘90s. In 1996, she left town to helm Laurels Restaurant in Dallas, where she was named among “America’s Best New Chefs” by Food & Wine in 1998 and earned the “Rising Star Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation in 1999. Upon returning to Seattle in 2001, Custer opened 727 Pine at the Elliott Grand Hyatt Hotel. Custer has been working with TASTE at SAM for the past seven years.
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[Photo: Danielle Custer/Facebook]