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The Seattle Culinary Academy Is Safe After An Outpouring of Community Support

Mike Easton’s destination restaurant Il Nido will have new owners, and more news

Two men stand next to each other wearing black sweatshirts in front of a wall painted with large, multi-colored leaves.
Donald Adams and Paolo Campbell, who own The Chicken Supply, met while enrolled in Seattle Central College’s culinary program. Campbell is among the chefs who spoke out against its closure.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Seattle Central College’s culinary program — which was at risk of being cut from the school’s budget — is safe for now, after an outpouring of community support, according to The Seattle Times.

The publication reported on April 27 that a budget committee was planning to recommend shutting down the Seattle Culinary Academy. But the college announced today that the program will continue enrollment through at least fall 2022 and will search for new ways to fund the program in the future.

Prominent local alumni, including The Chicken Supply’s Paolo Campbell and Communion’s Kristi Brown, spoke out against shutting down the program. Meanwhile, a student-led petition to save the academy got more than 6,500 signatures, and students wearing white chef’s uniforms protested while banging pots and other kitchen supplies together as a budget meeting took place Wednesday. Former Herbfarm chef Becky Selengut also collected hundreds of signatures from people in the restaurant industry in a letter to lawmakers to save the institution.

“I will say I am incredibly humbled by the level of support and grassroots activism by our students, faculty and community,” Seattle Culinary Academy dean Aimee Lepage told The Seattle Times.

Mike Easton's acclaimed Italian restaurant Il Nido is coming under new ownership

Mike Easton is selling Il Nido to longtime manager Cameron Williams and the restaurant’s executive chef, Katie Gallego before he moves to Eastern Washington this summer to open Bar Bacetto, his new restaurant in Waitsburg, according to Seattle Met.

While Easton will be missed in Seattle’s restaurant community, Williams and Gallego told the publication they’ve been running the restaurant mostly by themselves already, and things will remain largely unchanged at the destination restaurant.

Washington asparagus is back in restaurants and grocery stores this week

After a late start to asparagus season due to weather, Seattlelites will be able to find Washington-grown asparagus on restaurant menus and in grocery stores again this week, according to the Washington Asparagus Commission. With few exceptions, asparagus found on menus in the Seattle area since last summer have been coming from outside the state.

Seattle-area restaurants with Washington asparagus on their menus this week include Meesha, Flora Bakehouse, Cafe Flora, Café Juanita, and Renee Erickson’s Sea Creatures Group, which includes The Walrus and the Carpenter and The Whale Wins.