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Wallingford's 'Japanese-Inspired Meat House' Has a New Chef

All the restaurant industry chef shuffles you need to know

Chef Dylan Herrick is now the head chef at Kokkaku in Wallingford.
Chef Dylan Herrick is now the head chef at Kokkaku in Wallingford.
Courtesy of Kokkaku

December 12, 2017

WALLINGFORD — Kokkaku, the new Japanese restaurant in Wallingford that's already drawing rave reviews, has a new chef. Dylan Herrick is now at the helm, and he's putting his touches on the menu, including adding a Japanese A5 wagyu beef "Butcher Block" section. Herrick has spent time at Barking Frog, Miller’s Guild, and most recently at Microsoft/Compass. Herrick takes over for opening chef Rudy Velasquez.

CAPITOL HILL — Hot off a series of pop-ups with dishes from his native Oaxaca, chef Francisco Ruiz takes over as chef at Marjorie. Ruiz has previously worked at RN74 and Capitol Grill, and brings new menu items like Burgundy escargot and braised venison leg.

November 29, 2017

SOUTH LAKE UNION — Last week, when embattled brewpub Dexter Brewhouse closed temporarily, signs on the doors foretold the arrival of a new chef. Upon reopening, the company revealed that Jon Langley is at the helm. He comes to Dexter Brewhouse after serving as executive chef of three Heavy Restaurant Group spots (Purple, The Commons, and Thackeray) over the past eight years. Langley brings his own twists to the pub grub menu, including crispy chicken wings with spicy smoked honey glaze, an Anderson Ranch lamb burger with smoked tomato aioli, and vodka-battered fish and chips. Can he get the restaurant get back on track?

November 22, 2017

SOUTH LAKE UNION — While the brewpub he co-owned and -operated, Mollusk, continues to try to reinvent itself, chef Travis Kukull has quietly resurfaced at White Swan Public House. Kukull made a name for himself with offbeat dishes at Gastropod in SoDo before that business migrated to bigger digs under a new name in South Lake Union, but he left in June 2016. Kukull moved to Haines, Alaska, to cook at Hotel Hälsingland for a summer before shifting to White Swan.

WEST SEATTLE — Chef Larkin Young has departed the restaurant group F2T Hospitality, which owns West Seattle's adventurous cocktail bar Alchemy plus its forthcoming restaurant neighbor, Vine and Spoon, and an in-development Capitol Hill deli and secret bar, By the Pound. Young has stepped back from restaurants temporarily to build his own company through private dining gigs, pop-ups, workshops, and charity cooking events, according to his publicist.

November 15, 2017

chef michael jordan at el gaucho bellevue courtesy of

Michael Jordan, new executive chef of El Gaucho Bellevue. [Photo: Courtesy of Fire and Vine Hospitality]

BELLEVUE—El Gaucho Bellevue's new executive chef, Michael Jordan, spent years working closely with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse before opening Rosemary's Restaurant, a 12-year favorite of Las Vegas locals until its sad closure in 2011. (Years later, the spot that Eater Vegas called "much loved [and] much missed" gave fans a brief thrill of hope that it would be reincarnated, bringing back popular dishes like andouille-crusted duck confit and Hugo's Texas BBQ Shrimp, but that wasn't to be.) Most recently, Jordan spent five years teaching at The Seattle Culinary Academy before taking the helm at the largest of the four El Gaucho steakhouses.

MADRONA—As former Vendemmia head chef Rock Silva helps owner Brian Clevenger prepare his new Eastlake restaurant, Erik Jackson has replaced Silva at the popular fresh-pasta place, Seattle Met reports. Jackson was part of the opening team for both Spur Gastropub and The Coterie Room, and most recently spent a few years in charge of the kitchen at Capitol Cider, where he's been replaced for now by pastry chef Matthew Woolen. In addition, Jackson co-founded the ongoing pop-up enterprise Rough Draft with Aaron Wilcenski and Nick Jarvis.

October 4, 2017

alphonso mills courtesy of miller's guild

Alphonso Mills. [Photo: Courtesy of Miller's Guild]

DENNY TRIANGLE—Replacing Rudy Velasquez, Alphonso Mills is the new executive chef of Miller's Guild, chef Jason Wilson's sleek wood-fired restaurant within Hotel Max. Mills, who spent seven years at Microsoft and held the role of chef de cuisine of Microsoft catering, was born in Texas; of his early days in a kitchen, he said in a release, "I grew up experiencing meals with a heavy southern influence and a touch of Native American essence. I was learning techniques from my grandmothers that I didn't realize were skills until I went to culinary school."

Current seasonal dishes include albacore cioppino for two, beet salad with pickled chanterelles, smoked anchovy Caesar salad, and warm Camembert skillets.

September 21, 2017

BELLTOWNLocal 360, the restaurant priding itself on a commitment to sourcing within a 360-mile radius of Seattle, has named Scott Emerick as its executive chef. Emerick, whose most recent role was breaking down whole cows at Seven Beef, is also now one of two group chefs for Belltown Hospitality Group, which owns Local 360 along with Belltown Brewing and Mama’s Cantina. In addition to launching new farmer partnerships, Emerick is making his own salt and planning a root cellar for the colder months ahead.

Emerick returned to Seattle after serving as executive chef of now-closed Restaurant Nora in Washington D.C., the first certified-organic restaurant in the country. The Bellevue native was formerly chef and owner of Restaurant Crémant in Madrona, which was named "Best New Restaurant" by Bon Appétit magazine in 2007. Emerick has also spent time at Seattle's Campagne, Le Pichet, Harvest Vine, and Lark.

September 14, 2017

rn74 chef thomas griese credit kevin mccullough courtesy of rn74

Thomas Griese, new executive chef of RN74. [Photo: Kevin McCullough, courtesy of RN74]

DOWNTOWN—After less than a year, executive chef Ben Godwin evidently left Michael Mina's French brasserie RN74 in July, according to a press release, but the restaurant provided no context or comment on his quiet departure. At the time, Thomas Griese was appointed as interim executive chef and has now taken over the role permanently. "Thomas has dedicated more than a decade to working within all facets of French cuisine, and he loves the creative license of using local, seasonal ingredients for memorable meals and ultimately, outstanding guest experiences," Mina said in the release.

Griese's background includes stints at top Vegas restaurants like Alizé at The Palms Hotel and Le Cirque at the Bellagio; more recently, he's worked with the Mina Group as chef de cuisine for Michael Mina 74 in Miami (Eater Miami's restaurant of the year for 2014) and as part of the opening team this spring for Mina's Margeaux Brasserie in Chicago. He's already begun adding dishes like Alaskan halibut bouillabaisse to the menu, and will continue to offer a more fluid tasting menu.

Update, 9/20/17: A rep for RN74 said of Ben Godwin's departure, "Simply, his culinary career led him down a different path. The restaurant and Mina Group wish him the best of luck."

August 30, 2017

CAPITOL HILL—After helping start Wanderfish Poke, Brian O'Connor's sustainably sourced fast-casual seafood spot, Jason Velasquez recently made his way up from assistant to head chef at Ikina Sushi, he told The Stranger. This, apparently, after being told by the head chef of an LA restaurant years ago that he'd "never be a sushi chef." Velasquez said the year-old Ikina is the perfect fit for him, as the restaurant attracts a young crowd and doesn't let tradition stand in the way of his experimental tendencies.

CHICAGO—Chef Shannon Martincic, most recently a culinary curator for Huxley Wallace Collective after helming the restaurant group's short-lived taqueria, Bar Noroeste, has stepped up as chef de cuisine at Chicago's Michelin-starred Elizabeth Restaurant, Seattle Met reported. Noroeste faced plenty of raised eyebrows for its unusual, staunchly local take on tacos, including "guacamole" made of eggplant, but ultimately won over the majority of critics before being scrapped in favor of Kiki Ramen. With its focus on high-end tasting menus comprising foraged and sustainable ingredients, Elizabeth sounds like a perfect fit for Martincic's creativity.

August 24, 2017

DOWNTOWN—Paul Shewchuk has been promoted from executive sous chef to executive chef of the Fairmont Olympic hotel, stepping in for Gavin Stephenson, who left for SLS Hotel last fall after nearly 20 years. The Olympic's dining areas include the vaunted Georgian restaurant, the more casual seafood spot, Shuckers, and The Terrace, a lounge just off the lobby. Shewchuk worked at restaurants in Ontario, Canada, before moving west to make pasta at Vancouver, BC's Cincin Ristorante, ultimately joining Fairmont as banquet sous at the company's Jasper Lodge in Alberta and learning to use organic honey from its beehives. That experience serves Shewchuk well at the Olympic, where he oversees the rooftop hives that Stephenson installed in 2009.

August 14, 2017

crab king chef Itsuroku Kimura

Itsuroku Kimura. [Photo: Courtesy of Crab King]

BELLEVUE—A bit like Seattle's legendary Shiro Kashiba, Kyoto-born chef Itsuroku Kimura seems to be good at sushi and bad at retirement, as Kimura has taken over the kitchen at Crab King, a luxurious Northern Japanese-style crab house. He ran restaurants in California for years before retiring to Vancouver, where he promptly came out of retirement with the opening of Sushi Kimura in 2010, since closed.

Crab King husband-and-wife owners Xiaomeng and Peipei Liu said in a release that Kimura "is the ideal candidate to guide our Northern Japanese style crab house to new heights, while still maintaining its relaxed atmosphere and core menu." In particular, Kimura ought to be able to elevate the sushi menu over the "mundane" experience described in The Seattle Times' otherwise positive review from May.

August 7, 2017

CAPITOL HILL—So much for sabbatical: Little more than a week after his Southeast Asian restaurant, Kraken Congee, closed, chef Garrett Doherty told Eater he's taking over as head chef at Jerry Traunfeld's Sichuan-inspired Lionhead today. Fans following Doherty in hopes of tasting his take on cuisines like Filipino should be aware that he's to stay the course as far as the menu is concerned, at least for now. Doherty's co-founder, Shane Robinson, left their Pioneer Square business a month earlier and has been working at Ballard neighborhood bar The Dray.

MEXICO—Speaking of sabbatical, sommelier Jake Kosseff's (Miller's Guild) Linkedin page said he and his family are taking a break in Mexico. He and wife Jeanie Inglis were partners in the glitzy Circadia, which closed in May after half a year downtown.

RAVENNA—Eater Young Gun winner Suzi An recently left her position as creative director of operations for Salare and Junebaby to pursue her passion for natural wine. She's hoping to open Vita Uva as a retail shop in the International District, but she's also considering an online-only presence if she can't get the proper licensing she needs for the space she has in mind.

Brady Campbell of BC Photography

Charlotte Glaves. [Photo: Brady Campbell with BC Photography, courtesy of Charlotte Glaves]

DOWNTOWN—A month after chef Eric Rivera left Bookstore Bar and Cafe, sous chef Charlotte Graves, who was running the kitchen during parent company Kimpton Hotels' search for a new executive chef, said she was fired for fabricated charges of throwing a toaster and making comments about the interim chef. She's now helping chef Tamara Murphy with some projects at Terra Plata, like reopening the roof deck and firing up its grill, while seeking a restaurant space of her own.

June 23, 2017

DOWNTOWN—After a busy run at Bookstore Bar and Cafe, chef Eric Rivera has moved on. He announced his departure via a personal email newsletter, and said his first move will be to start a private pop-up series called Addo, the Latin word for "inspire," in hopes of attracting investors to help him open a restaurant of the same name. Wednesday through Friday Rivera will be hosting two seatings per night at an undisclosed location for $125 per person.

With ambitious goals, Rivera helped Bookstore attract a ton of attention during his tenure; a spokesperson for the company told Eater the split was amicable, and the programming Rivera set in motion — for example the Afternoon Delight weekend brunch and a chef incubator series — will continue. No new executive chef has been announced, but sous chef Charlotte Glaves is in charge of the kitchen in the interim.

BEACON HILL—Logan Cox, chef of Matt Dillon's respected Sitka and Spruce on Capitol Hill, is leaving to open his own restaurant closer to his home on Beacon Hill; he'll be replaced by Danny Cockling, according to Seattle Met. Cox is hoping his own space will be ready by March or April 2018 at 3013 Beacon Ave. South. He wants to offer the same kind of locally sourced ingredients as Sitka and Spruce but at a lower price point, with dishes ranging from $7 to $20 to cater to the neighborhood. Expect Middle Eastern flavors, including pita and other bread baked in a central pizza oven — soft serve is planned, as well.

January 19, 2017

GEORGETOWN—Jesse Smith is the latest chef to pass quickly through the kitchen at Nashville hot chicken joint Sisters and Brothers, which is "no longer doing the chef thing," according to the restaurant. Instead, Andrew Newell, who has a culinary education and experience at local spots like The Swinery and West Seattle Brewing, is now overseeing things as kitchen manager. Despite the high rate of turnover for the young business, Sisters and Brothers said there's no cause for alarm: "Basically, we're a small place, our menu is small, so we had some great chefs get us started with recipes and processes and they've gone on to do a little more high volume restaurant work."

CAPITOL HILLCorvus and Co. has two co-chefs leading the kitchen now that opening chef Mac Jarvis has moved to Las Vegas to work for David Chang's latest Momofuku expansion. In a managerial role is Tanner Woods, who was most recently kitchen manager at Linda's Tavern; focusing more on the creative side of things is Kevin Jones, who comes from Sitka and Spruce and also has experience at Seattle restaurants like Marjorie, Girin, and Terra Plata. Jones has tweaked a few of the original menu items and added some of his own, including twice-roasted Romanesco with tahini aioli, chermoula, and pistachio, as well as Manila clams with lamb merguez sausage, Rainier beer, lime, cilantro, and a baguette.

October 19, 2016

CAPITOL HILL—It's a passing of the torch at four-year-old Bait Shop, as restaurateur Linda Derschang has sold her nautical-themed restaurant to two long-time employees, Jonah Bergman and Mike Leifur. CHS Blog broke the news yesterday, noting that Derschang wants to "downsize" her workload; the Derschang Group still owns and operates a number of properties in town, including Linda's Tavern, Tallulah's, and King's Hardware. Boozy slushie fans, fear not: The new owners said they aren't planning any major changes at the moment.

October 5, 2016

CAPITOL HILLMamnoon announced its new executive chef last month: Pastry chef Carrie Mashaney steps up to replace David Gurewitz. Like chef Jason Stratton, who pivoted from Mamnoon to the company's new rooftop restaurant, Mbar, Mashaney spent time in the kitchen at Spinasse and its sibling, Artusi. She also competed on season 11 of Bravo's "Top Chef." Expect her to introduce some new menu items at Mamnoon, including a family-style mixed grill and, of course, additional desserts. No word yet on where Gurewitz will land.

CAPITOL HILL—Bar manager Nik Virrey has left Japanese kaiseki restaurant Naka, and apparently departed Seattle entirely for Los Angeles. Taking over the bar program is Canon alum Dustin Haarstad, a shockingly busy man: he's also CEO and founder of Blind Tiger Cocktail Co. as well as whisky associate for Glenfiddich and Balvenie scotches. Haarstad is joined behind the bar by Ryan Lobe from Rumba and Sean Dumke of Knee High Stocking Co. and Witness.

Expect a focus on Japanese whisky and cocktails, particular the highball, which Haarstad said is a staple in Japan's drinking culture; table-side service will also be available, with hand-carved ice balls and ice diamonds. Haarstad told Eater he's inspired by Japan's dedication to service and a perfectly balanced drink, and he believes Naka will help spread the word about Japanese whisky in the Northwest, featuring many bottles that are hard to come by in the area. He and the kitchen will also be "nerding out" with molecular deconstructed "culinary cocktails," for which the guest receives a half-sized cocktail paired with an edible version of that same drink.

September 14, 2016

CAPITOL HILL—As a follow-up to a report from September 12, chef Chris Barton, recently of Sisters and Brothers, told Eater he has landed at Vietnamese powerhouse Stateside as a sous chef. He said he and co-chef Chris Howell left the Nashville hot chicken joint on good terms, and called owner Jake Manny a phenomenal person to work for, despite the insanity of Sisters and Brothers' quick rise to popularity and sellout crowds. "There were a lot of nights spent sleeping at the restaurant that first month," Barton said. "I'm very proud of everything we accomplished." But Barton said he couldn't pass up an opportunity to work with Stateside chef/owner Eric Johnson. "I've been following him and his food ever since I learned about who he is," Barton said.

Barton also revealed that Chris Howell is now working at South Lake Union's new Maine-inspired restaurant, Bar Harbor Finestkind Provisions.

September 12, 2016

GEORGETOWN—Southern-style fried chicken hotspot Sisters and Brothers has a new head honcho in the kitchen: Jesse Smith, an Arlington, Wash., native who raises his own birds. Smith has worked at the late Pinky's Kitchen, Solo Bar, Bizzarro, and, most recently, as pastry chef at Sky City at the Space Needle, according to The Seattle Times. Opening co-chefs Chris Barton and Chris Howell have moved on from the wildly popular Nashville hot chicken restaurant, though owner Jake Manny didn't tell the Times where they might land. Manny did note that his friend Miles James, owner of Dot's Butcher and Deli, is officially consulting for the venture, where he's been involved in some capacity since the spring.

August 26, 2016

DOWNTOWN—Michael Mina's RN74 has filled the vacancy left by Chris Chapman, the 27-year-old former executive chef who passed away unexpectedly in April. Taking over kitchen operations is Ben Godwin, who was, until January, head chef for the local outposts of Canadian sandwich chain Meat and Bread (which just shuttered its Capitol Hill location, though its South Lake Union sibling remains).

Godwin is a UK native who worked as chef de partie at three-Michelin-starred juggernaut The Fat Duck; he also brings experience from Chicago's Alinea and Copenhagen's Noma. In a release, Godwin said he's thrilled to be working with "such a dynamic innovator and chef as Michael Mina." He's introduced a tasting menu that will change monthly and comprise new items that can't be had from the regular list: "It's kind of designed that way for us to be a bit more playful," Godwin told Eater. "I guess our menu is made up of a lot of approachable things, and the tasting menu allows us to experiment a bit." He said he's trying to make RN74 one of Seattle's premier food destinations, alongside the city's many other great restaurants.

WESTLAKE—Following a shake-up that saw co-owner and chef Travis Kukull leave the kitchen at Mollusk, co-owner and brewer Cody Morris said he's excited to welcome chef Seamus Platt, a Washington native, from his previous role as sous chef at Korean steakhouse Girin. Platt has also worked as sous at L'Auberge Carmel and executive sous at Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant Ubuntu, both in California.

Morris previously told Eater to expect a more straight-forward, brewpub-classic dining experience, which appears to hold true on the current dinner menu: house sausages, fish and chips, steak, and more. But Morris said to expect plenty of fermented and scratch-made twists from Platt, including vinegars made from house beers and vegetables harvested from a new garden the chef planted. For now, Mollusk is sticking with dinner only, but hopes to institute brunch and lunch again soon.

PIKE PLACE MARKET—According to a press release, Heong Soon Park, owner of Chan, has returned to the kitchen at the Korean gastropub after taking a sabbatical to focus on family life. This was also given as one of the reasons he sold the former Tray Kitchen to the owners of Tarsan i Jane this spring.


1433 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101

By the Pound

1801 E Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98102 (206) 900-0404 Visit Website


3013 Beacon Avenue South, , WA 98144 (206) 785-6099 Visit Website


1126 34th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 (206) 466-2533 Visit Website

Dexter Brewhouse

803 Dexter Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Capitol Cider

818 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122 (206) 397-3564 Visit Website

Ikina Sushi

918 E Pike St., Seattle, WA 98122 (206) 453-4441 Visit Website


28-30 Saint George's Walk, , England CR0 1YJ 020 8667 1670

Miller's Guild

612 Stewart Street, , WA 98101 (206) 443-3663 Visit Website

Local 360

2234 1st Avenue, , WA 98121 (206) 441-9360 Visit Website