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Jacques Pépin Loves Din Tai Fung, Too; Adana Chef Eliminated from ‘Iron Chef Gauntlet’

A roundup of Seattle news bites

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2017 Winter TCA Tour - Day 12
Jacques Pépin in Pasadena, California, 2017.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

May 8, 2017

Another Ballard bakery sold

Last year it was Honoré, which went through a smooth transition to Rosselini’s with the addition of cakes and more pastries to the well-loved lineup; this year it’s Cafe Besalu, which has been sold to local chain Herkimer Coffee, Seattle Met reports. Herkimer owner Mike Prins is planning only one major change: Opening seven days a week, instead of five. That means more opportunities for fans to snag fine French pastries like kouign amanns and croissants, the likes of which made co-owner James Miller a three-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. He and his wife/co-owner Kaire are moving to Spain to run a food-focused inn.

No Iron Chef for Seattle

After surviving three episodes and two one-on-one face-offs, Adana chef Shota Nakajima finally fell in episode four of Food Network’s Iron Chef Gauntlet last night. Host Alton Brown proclaimed Nakajima’s honey-walnut shrimp not mustardy enough, which sent the young chef to the showdown. Unfortunately, his black silkie chicken dishes couldn’t get him past his opponent, Chicago chef Stephanie Izard, and Nakajima was eliminated. Congratulations to Nakajima for making it this far, though. He posted on Instagram, “Didnt make it to the end but after 4 rounds of hustling I won more than I lost with meeting new mentors/friends and all the support for repping Japanaese cuisine and Seattle has been mind blowing!”

From ice cream queen to music mogul

Molly Moon’s is going from cool to ice cold with the launch of its in-house record label, Mooncrew Records, “a vinyl-centric imprint devoted to releasing music created by Molly Moon's employees,” according to The Stranger. The first release is an album called Keepers by local pop artist Cataldo, whose name tag would read Eric Anderson if you ran into him in his capacity as area manager for Molly Moon’s. The Stranger suggests the “mellow, pretty pop songcraft will appeal to fans of Death Cab for Cutie, Sufjan Stevens, and others of their ilk.”

But did he have to wait in line?

One of the most famous chefs in the world, Jacques Pépin recently celebrated a partnership with Seattle nonprofit Farestart, which will further its James Beard Award-winning program training the homeless and disadvantaged for kitchen work with the help of Pépin and his charitable foundation. At a fundraising dinner at Farestart, he answered questions for the crowd, and The Seattle Times notes that he cited a “fantastic” lunch at Din Tai Fung downtown as an example to laud the diversity of restaurants in America. “‘I go there, and I feel that I don’t know anything about cooking,’ he says, clearly meaning that in a good way,” the Times writes. Do you think he had to wait in line?

April 27, 2017

BELLEVUEFogo de Chão, the international chain of Southern Brazilian steakhouses, opens its first Washington location in the Lincoln Square Expansion (440 Bellevue Way NE) at 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 14. The restaurant name refers to the style of roasting meat over an open fire; head gaucho chef Sidenei Zanin leads this outpost of the churrascaria, which is famous for its “continuous service,” better known as an all-you-can-eat meat frenzy prepared tableside.

CAPITOL HILL—It came down to the Secret Ingredient Showdown last Sunday, but local chef Shota Nakajima sliced, diced, and plaintained his way past Cleveland’s Jonathon Sawyer to break through to episode three of Iron Chef Gauntlet. (You might say it was bananas.) If you haven’t been watching each episode with Nakajima and his team Sunday nights at 9 p.m. at Adana, get there already.

FRELARD—GQ named Catalan- and Valencian-inspired Tarsan i Jane one of its best new restaurants for 2017, calling the tasting menu-only experience “by turns maddening and wonderful.” Citing the pretension of the manifesto and the “dictatorial power of the chef,” Brett Martin says, “I worry that such tonal missteps are keeping Seattleites from [chef Perfecte] Rocher's cooking, which is some of the most alive and enrapturing I tasted all year.”

RAVENNA—GQ also spoke with Edouardo Jordan for “What Happens When a Brown Chef Cooks White Food?” The piece explores the racially biased expectation that non-white chefs must open restaurants that reflect their appearance, whereas white chefs are allowed to specialize in any cuisine. To prove he could cook “with the best of the best,” Jordan “opened Salare, a reflection not of how he looks but of his career, including his stints at restaurants like Per Se and time spent cooking in Italy.” It’s only with his follow-up, the newly opened Junebaby, that Jordan is exploring his black and Southern heritage more deeply and directly in a restaurant.

SEATTLE—Andrew Gooi, a filmmaker whose “Food Talkies” shorts were nominated for multiple James Beard Foundation media awards this year, recently moved from Phoenix to Seattle, where he’s begun profiling local chefs and restaurants. “The Heart of Soba” features Kamonegi pop-up chef (and former Miyabi 45th chef) Mutsuko Soma and her handmade buckwheat noodles. “The Matriarch” turns the lens on Gloria Perez, who runs La Carta de Oaxaca with multiple generations of her offspring. Keep an eye on Gooi’s Vimeo page for future releases.

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