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Seattle-Area Chefs Are Gobbling Up National Awards

Plus, exclusive pastries come to Nordstrom, and more news of the week

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A black and white photo of Canlis chef Aisha Ibrahim
Canlis chef Aisha Ibrahim
Harry Cheadle is the editor of Eater Seattle.

It’s mid-September so you know what that means: It’s time for end-of-year awards! And Seattle chefs are getting recognition from national publications Back East.

First there’s Aisha Ibrahim, who took over as executive chef at Canlis in the post–pandemic lockdown era and was named one of Food and Wine’s Best New Chefs this week. She’s the first woman to hold that post in Canlis’s long history, and has brought cross-cultural flair to Seattle’s oldest-school fine-dining citadel. She’s also focused on maintaining a toxicity-free kitchen culture. Here’s what Ibrahim told Food and Wine:

When interviewing a prospective cook, “They were like, ‘I’ve never seen this level of camaraderie in a kitchen before. And I can ask a question and no one’s laughing at me,’” Ibrahim shares. “And I said, ‘Yes. We are trying to be the anti-fine-dining fine-dining restaurant in that sense.’”

Then there’s Brendan McGill’s ambitious, seafood-focused Bainbridge Island restaurant Seabird, which opened in 2022 in the space that the chef’s old restaurant Hitchcock used to occupy. Bon Appetit gave it a stamp of approval, putting Seabird on its Best New Restaurants of 2023 list.

“McGill’s meticulously sourced menu is a heartfelt tribute to the Pacific Northwest,” Ali Francis writes. “Earthy seaweed focaccia bounces like a sponge as you swipe it through whipped wakame-spiked butter. Fragrant leche de tigre clings to albacore ceviche. Yuzu-and-koji-marinated king salmon from the nearby Neah Bay arrives like a little gift, wrapped in sugar kelp and served with sweet kale raab.” Sounds pretty tight!

Rose Temple owners debut new bar

After a soft opening that lasted a couple of weeks, Donna’s, the new bar from Rose Temple’s Austin Polley and Benjamin Smith is fully operational and serving bar snacks and pasta along with cocktails. The vibe looks to be disco balls and plants, kind of like your most fun aunt’s apartment. It’s at 1355 Olive Way, where the old Speckled and Drake used to be.

Iconic pastries are coming to Nordstrom

Nordstrom is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with some famous treats. Paola Velez, the pastry chef who co-founded Bakers Against Racism, is bringing her pecan-plantain sticky buns to all of the restaurants run by the Seattle-founded department store. These restaurants will also feature something Velez made just for this partnership, says a press release: “Pastelitos, a savory treat that billows with sky-high puff pastry filled with roasted nectarines and a punchy sofrito beef filling.” These will be available September 15 to October 15.

Seahawks star D.K. Metcalf goes FullCaf

With the start of the NFL season comes a new product partnership from Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf, who just launched FullCaf Metcalf Coffee, a blend from Volcanica Coffee. The origins of this partnership go back to when announcer Joe Tessitore mispronounced “D.K.” as “decaf” during a game, and well, there you go. A portion of the sales will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Prison Fellowship, charities chosen by Metcalf and Tessitore, who is evidently in on the joke.


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