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Blake Lord-Wittig

Alder & Ash

Blake is a local, growing up in Steilacoom, Washington, cooking with his grandparents, fishing, clamming, crabbing. "It was all seafood and nature," he recalls. Even so, he didn't plan on a culinary career. He went into criminal justice on a soccer scholarship and when done, knew he didn't want it. He decided on the military, but his mother was a solid no. She suggested culinary. "I do appreciate the structure and that it's technique-driven," he says. Blake attended the Art Institute of Seattle's one-year program. His first job at 19 was as a host at The Daily Grill, associated with the Sheraton Grand Seattle. He then attended the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, working at well-known spots like Jean-Georges, Oceana, and The Fatty Crab where he worked with a James Beard award-winning chef.

He returned to Seattle where he staged at Canlis and worked at Café Juanita and La Spiga, then returned to New York to work at a hotel and Artisan restaurant in Southport, Connecticut that featured New England-style farm-to-table. "I helped open it and was the Executive Sous Chef." He stayed on the East Coast for two more years, then returned to Seattle. "I love the East Coast but keep getting drawn back here." He helped open Tilikum Place Café as Chef de Cuisine, and then Some Random Bar.

He and his wife then opened their own organic, farm-to-table restaurant in Steilacoom, De La Terre. "It was like recreating what I'd done when young: crabbing, foraging mushrooms, and creating awesome relationships with local small farmers." At the same time, he decided to take his passion for wine to the next level. Self-taught, he is now a level 2 sommelier. At De La Terre, he was the chef, and his wife was the GM. When they decided to have a child, they realized they couldn't do it all. They told everyone three months in advance they would close, and they sold out every night for three months. They closed in late 2019, before the pandemic. "We weren't built for take-out food, so the timing was good for us," Blake says. With a 3-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, Blake decided he would no longer do food. He became the Beverage Director at Rider at the Hotel Theodore until the pandemic closed it. "I was able to be at home for four months with my wife while she was pregnant. It was one of the best times." He then worked for Walden Selections, a wine distributor and importer.

He became the Executive Chef/Creator of Spice Lab in Tacoma, a pop-up inside a bar, two weeks after his son was born. "I helped the owner with his branding and growing the company. We parted ways when I took the Executive Chef job at"

Blake saw an ad for the executive chef position at Alder & Ash and became the first employee in April of 2023, doing research and development. The restaurant and bar opened in late May 2023.

July 2023

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