French bistro Luc's chef de cuisine Steven Ariel will be head chef at the W Hotel's TRACE restaurant in Downtown, beginning March 2012, when the restaurant opens. Prior to Luc, Ariel's Seattle experience included stints at Canlis and Cafe Juanita. Ariel grew up on the Big Island in Hawaii, and his culinary career took off, when he helped open Alan Wong's and helmed Wong's The Pineapple Room--both in Honolulu.
We asked Ariel for his reasons for moving from chef-owned restaurants(which has marked his experience for the past 20 years) to a hotel-owned one. He told us that his career began in hotels in Hawaii, and that, "I missed the resources and structural support that a larger organization has to offer; it definitely has a certain impact on staff and the organization as a whole." Ariel added, "W Seattle is a luxury property and it fits my style and background. I like it that W Seattle has been a career springboard for a lot of chefs and I’m following in their footsteps. W Seattle provided a terrrific opportunity for talent like John Sundstrom and Maria Hines."