Meet the class of 2020!

Meredith Abbott    Sur la Table
Artisan pizzettes: assemble pizzettes with traditional and unique ingredients (truffle oil, sauces, eggs, prosciutto, vegetables, etc.)

About: One of Chef Meredith’s missions is to demonstrate that it’s possible - and wonderful - to have healthy and flavorful on the same plate! Having worn the hats of pastry chef, food truck operator, private-school chef, farm hand, and corporate executive chef, Meredith currently brings her comprehensive background to the role of Culinary Content Manager at Sur La Table. She is a native Iowan who has lived in Seattle since 2002. Although initially pursuing a degree in Social Work, she found herself strongly drawn to the culinary world, and obtained a Culinary Degree from the Art Institute of Seattle as well as a certificate in Health and Nutrition from the University of Washington. Meredith also immersed herself in Seattle’s thriving and innovative restaurant world. She is delighted to bring her varied experiences to Sur La Table - and, tonight, to you!

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Baer 2015 Ursa (Merlot/Cab Franc blend)

Young Cho    Phorale
Squid ink bucatini with braised pork belly, sautéed kimchi with a side of umami toast

About: Chef Young started in a humble corner in a local bodega in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle when he and business partner Jimmy Bui decided to open Phorale. What started as a small project of blending Asian and Tex-Mex flavors, instantly became shared on social media as the new and funky place to go. A few months into opening, Chef Young was named one of eight dining superheroes of Seattle by Zagat, and one of twelve chefs to know in the U.S. After features in Seattle Magazine, Seattle Met Magazine, Seattle Times and The Stranger, Young was invited to participate in a culinary competition put on by Seattle Refined and KOMO 4 which, with a win, landed him an appearance on the national show “The Chew” to cook a family recipe. It was named Chef Michael Simon’s favorite dish. Upon returning, Phorale’s lease was not renewed and while a new location was being sought, Young cooked nightly for the seniors and homeless of South Park at the local community center, while being a kitchen mercenary at his friends' restaurants around town. In March 2019, Phorale returned as a mobile concept. You can find Young driving around town with an Aztec motif trailer with a Sombrero toting dragon, for daily and weekend services and events.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Rotie Cellars Rosé

Daisley Gordon    Café Campagne
Salmon appetizer plate: salmon rillettes, salmon roe, salmon gravlax and house-made gougeres (French cheese puffs)

About: After college, Daisley worked a few years in restaurants to enhance his understanding of the business. He graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, which included an internship with a Certified Master Chef. In 1995, he landed at Campagne Restaurant –Seattle’s standard-bearer of regional French cuisine. He never left. Gordon went from cook to Sous Chef, Chef and eventually Chef/Owner. At the now 25-year-old Café Campagne, he focuses on bringing-out the full flavors and celebrating the bounty of the Pacific Northwest seasons, in the French style. He maintains passion for French culinary traditions and the French obsession with product quality by his loyal patronage to the Northwest’s finest purveyors. In 2008, Gordon was a competitor on Iron Chef America’s fresh berries challenge. The beneficiaries of Gordon’s charitable work includes the Pike Place Market Foundation and the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Buty Semillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle blend

Ba Culbert    Tilikum Place Café
Kale crepe stuffed with wild mushrooms and lemon ricotta

About: Ba Culbert is Chef/Owner of Tilikum Place Cafe. With almost twenty-five years of experience working in Seattle kitchens for some local hospitality greats like Tom Douglas and Joe McDonnal, she will be celebrating Tilikum’s tenth anniversary in October. Chef Ba finds inspiration for her dishes from the fresh, local, seasonal produce of the Northwest, as well as from experiences traveling throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, and Mexico.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with

Benjamin Closson    All Water Seafood & Oyster House, Loews Hotel 1000
Halibut ceviche with avocado mousse, pickled vegetables, kwari sprouts, and taro crisps

About: As Executive Chef, Benjamin Closson brings more than 21 years of culinary and hospitality-industry experience to Loews Hotel 1000. Closson oversees all culinary operations for the hotel including its signature restaurant All Water Seafood & Oyster Bar. Closson most recently served as executive chef at The Heathman Hotel, where he oversaw the hotel’s culinary and catering operations and its restaurant, Trellis. Prior to The Heathman Hotel, he was the executive chef at Nordstrom’s flagship location in downtown Seattle, where he oversaw all food & beverage operations and played a key role in the development of new restaurants throughout North America. Closson was the original chef de cuisine at Terra Plata in Seattle, where he formed strong relationships with local farmers and fishermen. He was also the executive sous chef at Earth & Ocean at W Seattle.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Dowsett Family's 2016 Celilo Vineyard Columbia Gorge Gewürztraminer

Paolo Carey-DiGregorio    Salty's on Alki
Fresh lobster and Dungeness crab rolls

About: As a child, Chef Paolo lived in California, Japan and New York, then Seattle. His family opened several bakeries. As an adult, he made his way through many kitchens in Seattle. In 2004, he started his career at Salty's on Alki, moving from wood-oven cook, to sous chef, chef de cuisine and now executive chef.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Dunham Cellars' 2018 Sauvignon Blanc (first vintage!)

Kim Cosway    Heartwood Provisions
Wagyu beef tartare, toasted emmer, capers, Dijon laab, black garlic aioli, micro cilantro

About: Chef Kimberley Cosway found her passion for cooking at an early age, studying her craft in high school and later continuing to culinary school at South Seattle Community College. She worked abroad in France at 2 Michelin star La Chevre D’or at the age of 19. After returning from Europe, she continued her education by working for various Tom Douglas restaurants, learning about Northwest cuisine. Her second passion, teaching, called her away from “traditional” restaurants for a while and landed her at Farestart. It was there she was given the opportunity to not only teach students but also run a successful catering department. In January of 2016, Chef Kim made the difficult decision to leave Farestart and become the opening Sous Chef of Heartwood Provisions, working under her mentor and friend, Chef Varin Keokitvon. She now leads Heartwood Provisions’ kitchen as Executive Chef. Using traditional and new techniques, she continues to educate not only her staff but also her guests, on thoughtful and globally influenced northwest cuisine.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Boomtown by Dusted Valley's 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

Josh Delgado    Le Coin
Heritage Washington pork, King's Garden Tomatoes, sweet onion soubise, herb salad

About: Chef Josh had his first taste of kitchen life at 16 apprenticing at then The Gallery Restaurant in Tucson, Arizona. Afterwards, he spent time under Chef Bruce Yim at Vin Tabla, also in Tucson. Later, he worked with the National Forestry as a caterer. After moving to the Northwest, he became the Chef de Cuisine at Barking Frog in Woodinville. In 2015, he became the Executive Chef at Alderbrook on Hood Canal. Josh is now the Executive Chef and partner at Le Coin in Fremont.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Davenport Cellars' 2016 Pinot Noir

David Flegel    Water's Table, Hyatt Regency Lake Washington at Seattle's Southport
Sumac-seasoned steelhead salmon fillet, grilled young fennel, green onions, wild Pacific Northwest mushrooms, pluot-citrus compote

About: Flegel started restaurant work in Regina, Canada in 1980. In 1985, he attended Holland College’s Culinary Institute of Canada, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He graduated in the top of his class in 1987 and was hired at the Westin Calgary, staying for 3-1/2 years. He moved to Austria to work as Chef de Partie in Klagenfurt at a luxury boutique hotel. He then joined the Celebrity Cruise MV Horizon in San Juan Puerto Rico, followed by 6 months at CP Hotels and Resorts’ Kananaskis Lodge as Banquet Chef. In 1992, he moved to Zurich, Switzerland, to work as Chef de Partie at the Brasserie Lipp, followed by a move to Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia where he became Executive chef at the World Trade Center in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1993, staying for two years. In 1995, he joined Hyatt International as Chef de Cuisine in Saipan, CNMI, staying for 2-1/2 years. He transferred to Santiago, Chile, to the Hyatt Regency, staying 3 years. At the end of 1999, he became the Executive Sous Chef at the Grand Hyatt in Jakarta. In 2003, David returned to Regina as Executive Chef for the Hotel Saskatchewan. In November 2006, he moved to the Hyatt Regency Calgary as Executive chef. In May 2018, he joined the Hyatt Regency Lake Washington. David has been married to Christina for 26 years and has three daughters, all born in different areas of the world.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Torii Mor's 2016 Olson Vineyard Pinot Noir

Wayne Johnson    FareStart
Lamb meatballs with garlic, shallots, parsley, dill, cilantro, oregano, and mint

About: A Kentucky native, Chef Johnson grew up as an “army brat” and traveled extensively. He began his culinary adventures in high school working as a dishwasher and prep cook, and continued cooking while studying accounting and business at the University of Northern Colorado. He has worked at the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel in San Francisco, the Marriott Hotels and Resorts in California and Colorado, and Andaluca and Oliver's Lounge at the Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle. In 2012, he became the executive chef at Ray's. In 2015, he was named Executive Chef for FareStart, then Corporate Executive Chef. Chef Wayne has earned many accolades, including being selected as a “Rising Star” by and Iron Chef America Season 9 Challenger.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Davenport Cellars

Peter Levine    Columbia Hospitality Talaris Conference Center
Spiced, marinated, and seared leg of lamb, cucumber raita, yellow lentil daal, naan

About: Chef Levine attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and the Diablo Valley College Hotel and Restaurant School in Pleasant Hill, California. In San Francisco, he worked at Harry’s Bar and American Grill. On the East Coast, he worked at Twenty-One Federal Restaurant, and in Washington D.C,. he served as apprentice for the late Jean-Louis Palladin in the Watergate Hotel. In Seattle, he has worked at Trattoria Carmine, Isabella Ristorante, BluWater Bistro, Vivanda, and Mackay Restaurants Troiani and Waterfront Seafood Grill. He is now the chef for the Talaris Conference Center and Columbia Hospitality.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Bodega Garzon Reserve Tannat

Daniel Cox    Frolik, Motif Seattle Hotel
Slow roast barbacoa with fresh pressed tortillas, fermented pineapple hot sauce, hibiscus escabeche and taco "things"

About: From the time he could walk,the kitchen was Daniel's favorite place to be. After working through some of Seattle's best kitchens over the past 11 years, including Quality Athletics (Huxley-Wallace Collective), he has landed at Motif Seattle and Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails as Executive Chef. Originally from San Diego, Daniel has made a name for himself in Seattle by being well-rounded in everything from vegan cuisine to whole animal butchery and everything in between.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Tomero Malbec

Erika Nelson    Elliott's Oyster House
Seared Alaskan scallops, sweet corn puree, pea pistou, crispy Parmesan, pickled vegetables

About: Chef de cuisine at Elliott’s Oyster House, Erika grew up with a grandmother who loved baking and hosting gatherings at her bed and breakfast in Phinney Ridge. Erika took an early interest in all things culinary with a primary focus on baking. Formulating ideas for school projects where restaurant and menu development were the topic, it wasn’t long before she began volunteering, and eventually working at Tall Grass Bakery in Ballard. She spent many years involved in the National Restaurant Association’s Prostart program teaching high school children the skills to build innovative dishes from start to finish. Before joining Elliotts 11 years ago, Chef Nelson worked at various other restaurants and bakeries including Daniels Broiler, Emory’s on Silver Lake, and Salty’s on Alki. Chef Nelson currently resides with her boyfriend Carey and their two daughters, Josefine and Violet in Lynnwood, WA.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Treveri Sparkling Blanc de Noir

Rhys Nunnelee    Tankard & Tun
Penn Cove Select mussels with Pike Pils Dijon sauce

About: Leading the Tankard & Tun culinary team is Chef Rhys Nunnelee. After graduating from culinary school, Chef Rhys spent time cooking in Alaska before landing in Seattle at The Butcher’s Table. From there, he joined the Tankard & Tun team. “I wanted to focus on local seafood—highlighting all the Puget Sound has to offer,” says Chef Rhys. His menus focus on in-season, locally grown, and foraged food, complemented by Pike’s handcrafted beers.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with

Jeff Maxfield    Space Needle/Collections Café
Smoked wild salmon and fennel pierogis

About: Chef Maxfield grew up in Seattle and has an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science/Culinary Arts from South Seattle Community College. He began his career as a line cook at the Seattle Tennis Club. In Seattle, he worked at Canlis under Greg Atkinson, Chez Shea, and the Golf Club at Newcastle. He worked at The Five Palms Beach Grille in Kihei, Maui. Prior to coming to SkyCity, he worked with Southbridge Restaurant Group in Scottsdale, Arizona, opening the first of three full-service restaurants on the Scottsdale “waterfront” for entrepreneur Fred Unger.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Chateau Ste. Michelle's Cold Creek Chardonnay

Adam Gerlitz    Revolve True Food & Wine
Halibut seared in pancetta fat topped with coconut-cream-tobiko sauce, served with green papaya noodles and smashed avocado

About: Adam Gerlitz found his love of cooking young – first as a way to help his mom around the house, and then professionally at 15 years old on the way to his first job interview. His interview was with warehouse, but instead he stopped off at the Northwest favorite, Caveman Kitchens and asked if they had any jobs. He made his way up the chain working many positions in the kitchen, learning all elements of the business. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology, but found he preferred his previous occupation in the restaurant business. Adam has worked with long-established businesses as well as helping to open new restaurants: Hi-Life, BeachHouse Bar and Grill, Munchbar, Bootlegger's Bar and Grill, Adam's Bistro and Brewery among them. He brings a wealth of experience to his role at Revolve, where he has moved up from Sous Chef, to Executive Chef, to General Manager. Adam lives in Snohomish with his wife Shannon, their two goats Peanut Butter and Jelly, and their dog Oscar.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Forgeron Chardonnay

Sadie White    Staple & Fancy
Burrata, pistachio brittle, pears, smoked honey "salad"

About: A California native, Sadie White, graduated in 2006 with an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from Cypress College in Southern California. White honed her culinary skills at the now shuttered Bashan in Glendale and the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach before joining the team at Providence, chef Michael Cimarusti’s highly acclaimed two Michelin star restaurant in Los Angeles. In 2012, she worked under revered chef Marco Sacco at Piccolo Lago in Italy. In 2013 she took her Italian knowledge to Laos as executive sous chef of Acqua Wine Bar and Restaurant and Ai Capone. After two years traveling and tasting her way through Asia, White headed back to the US where she worked for Jose Andres at both Ku Noodle and China Poblano in Las Vegas. In 2017, White joined Ethan Stowell Restaurants as the sous chef of Tavolàta in Belltown. In December of 2018, she took over chef duties at Staple & Fancy Mercantile.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Sparkman Cellar's 2016 Apparition Roussane Blend

Ross Lewis    W Hotel Seattle/TRACE
Red-wine-braised short rib with quail egg, bull's blood, carrot puree and natural jus

About: Ross grew up near the base of Mt. Rainier in Eatonville. He graduated from high school and made his way to Tacoma, where he started out as a food runner at Pacific Grill. Six months in, a pantry cook position opened up and he thought he'd give cooking a try. He worked under Chef/Owner Gordon Naccarato for two years and jumped into culinary school at South Seattle College. In 2010, he spent the summer interning and studying food (and wine!) in Florence, Italy. Returning stateside, he began his Seattle career at the gastropub Tavern Law in Capital Hill. Over the next couple years, he bounced between Tavern Law and Spur both owned by the McCracken-Tough chef duo. After graduating culinary school, Ross continued his education and received a Bachelors degree in Hospitality Management. Throughout school and work, Ross found time to intern and do some hands-on learning at places such as The Swinery Butcher and Meat Shop in West Seattle and making cheese at Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island. In 2012, Ross found himself at restaurant T R A C E inside the W Hotel Seattle working as a line cook. He has since flourished under Executive Chef Steven Ariel and grown into his right hand man as the current Executive Sous Chef.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with

Raymond Southern    Kingfish at West Sound
Tortellini en brodo, rabbit consomme with rabbit and mushroom tortellini

About: Executive Chef Southern grew up on a small farm just outside of Vancouver, BC surrounded by all things fresh from the garden. “I’m lucky I never had to choose a career. I walked into my first kitchen when I was 14 and I’ve been hooked ever since,” he says. After culinary school he completed his apprenticeship at the William Tell Restaurant, followed by a stint with Chef Bruno Marti at La Belle Auberge. From there he worked his way up to Executive Chef at Umberto Menghi’s Al Porto Restaurant in Vancouver’s Gastown District. He became an Executive Chef with Holland America Line, working on ships and experiencing global cuisines. He has worked for Westin Hotels and Resorts in Grand Cayman and St. Maarten in the Caribbean, and lived in Lima, Peru, for several years. Accolades include Chef of the Year, Grand Gold, 5 Gold Medals, and 1 Silver Medal at the Cayman Islands National Culinary Salon, Top Apprentice by Canadian Federation of Chefs de Cuisine, and an appearance with Team Canada at the World Culinary Exposition in Luxembourg. He returned to the Northwest, to Orcas Island and Rosario Resort and Spa's The Mansion restaurant where he stayed through May 2019. When he’s not cooking you can usually find him together with his wife and two furry dogs walking on a long peaceful trail or playing a good game of fetch in the dog park.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Hightower Cellars' 2015 Red Mountain Merlot

Zach Ramirez    Vulcan Inc. Culinary Team/Pitmaster Licketty's BBQ
Green Szechuan Pepper Fish (Qing Hua Jiao Yu)

About: Originally from Tucson, Arizona,and now rooted in Seattle, Chef Ramirez has been in the culinary field for over a decade. After a number of years in the restaurant industry he switched gears and moved to the private sector where he is now Culinary Coordinator for Vulcan Inc. Chef Ramirez truly loves people and finds joy in connecting with hearts and souls by way of the stomach. He finds the science behind cooking fascinating and through this framework is able to let his passions and creativity flow. Today he remains focused on his true culinary passions, Mexican cuisine, pizza, and barbecue. During the fall you can find him at Century Link Stadium as Pit Master for Licketty’s BBQ - connecting people with smoky goodness, and cheering on the Seahawks!

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Long Shadows Nine Hats Riesling

Carolyn Spence    Shaker & Spear, Kimpton Palladian Hotel
Salmon tartare with avocado and crackers

About: As Executive Chef at Shaker + Spear, Spence has drawn upon on her 25-year career to put a distinct polish on casual comfort food and oceanic fare, making her bistro-style burgers as appealing as her refined seafood options. She spent the last 10 years as executive chef at Chateau Marmont, the storied Hollywood hang-out. Almost missing her calling, she studied journalism and advertising at Northeastern University in Boston until she realized office life would not work for her. Soon after, she landed her first cooking job working for barbecue and grilling pioneer Chris Schlesinger at his East Coast Grill in Cambridge, MA. From there, she learned the ropes under a series of celebrity chefs, spending many years in New York City as a sous chef for Bobby Flay at Mesa Grill, Patricia Yeo at AZ, and Danny Meyer at Blue Smoke. In 2004 she was chef de cuisine on the opening team of the Michelin Star-rated The Spotted Pig, working with Executive Chef April Bloomfield. And in 2006, Spence became the executive chef, overseeing all restaurants, room service, pastry and events at Chateau Marmont.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with

Michela Tartaglia    Pasta Casalinga
Caserecce pasta with guanciale, romanesco and pecorino

About: Michela was born and raised in Torino and spent her summers on her grandmother's olive farm in the remote area of Irpinia, the inland of Naples. Her passion for cooking was gained through the observation and humble repetition of what her mother, Gina, and grandmothers, Rosa and Michela, taught. Coming from a farmers background, she made the natural decision of embracing the statement "we are what we eat."

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with

Although it rarely happens, chefs are subject to change.