Seattle DINING! logo


Ad 6 Olive Group Saturn


Chef's Kitchen

Each month, a guest chef gives us a tip that elevates their cooking or simplifies things in the kitchen; something a home cook might not know. They also provide a recipe that uses the tip, so you can practice at home. Our guest chef this month is Executive Chef Alexander La Motte who heads the culinary team at Lotte Hotel Seattle, including Charlotte Restaurant & Lounge. The restaurant features a contemporary approach to Pacific Northwest cuisine, showcasing elevated dishes using fresh, local ingredients. To complement its unique approach to food, Senior Beverage Manager Amanda Reed uses local and Mediterranean ingredients that incorporate Asian influence, changing the drink menu seasonally. Located on the 16th floor, guests have stunning views of downtown, water, and mountains.

Chef La Motte oversees the food and beverage program for Lotte Hotels and Resorts' newest hotel and third property in the U.S. He has over 15 years of culinary experience including executive chef roles at Rosewood CordeValle, Hotel Californian, Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, and Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. As sous chef at the renowned DB Brasserie in Las Vegas, he helped the team achieve a Michelin star rating in both 2007 and 2008.

The importance of brining, by Executive Chef Alexander La Motte

It may sound far too simple, but the importance of brining shouldn't be ignored. I think most home cooks either don't know how to do it, or just think it is something you do for your Thanksgiving turkey, but in the kitchen we brine a wide range of proteins everyday along with some vegetables from time to time.

As a basic definition, brining is the process of submerging a cut of meat or fish into a solution of salt and water. It adds flavor, seasoning from the inside out, but it also changes the meat's physical nature. The salt in brines denatures the meat's proteins to allow the cell to retain more moisture. The brine also tenderizes meat by causing its muscles to unravel and swell. It all comes together to trap so much liquid inside that it can't all evaporate during the cooking process, creating a moister, juicier piece of meat.

I brine all chicken and pork products as a rule. Both have the tendency to dry out when cooked, but after you brine them properly it is almost hard to make them dry. This assures me that we are serving the best and most consistent product possible to our guests (or my family). We also brine most of the fish that we serve as well. The brine for fish doesn't need to have as much aromatics as a meat brine, the fish just isn't in the brine long enough to pick up the flavor. I brine fish for different amounts of time depending on thickness, anywhere from 5-45 minutes. Another good trick is to use a brine to purge shellfish. Submerging mussels, clams, etc., in a brine will help the shellfish expel sand from the interior.

Chicken brine

Good for one large chicken

A brine is all about the amount of salt concentration in water. You can really have an endless variety of combinations of salt, water, and aromatics. You can really add almost anything you want to a brine depending on what you want your final product to taste like. Aromatics in brines give you subtle flavors usually, but the more you add the more you will taste it in the meat. I usually tend to be somewhat conservative with the amount of aromatics I use; in the end I want the quality of the meat or fish to be the dominant flavor.


· 1 cup kosher salt

· 1 gal water

· 3 lemons, cut into ½" slices

· 10 bay leaves

· 1 bunch thyme

· 8 clove garlic, lightly crushed

· 3 Tbsp black peppercorns

· ¼ cup honey


1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes then pull of the heat. Stir to dissolve the salt. Cool down completely before using.

2. Take one large chicken, about 3 pounds, and cut into 8 pieces. Brine the chicken for 10-12 hours in a refrigerator. When done, remove the chicken from the brine and rinse the chicken under cold water making sure to remove any aromatics that are still attached. Throw the brine away.

3. This chicken can be used for grilling, frying, or pan roasting. If you wanted to roast the chicken whole, double the recipe, and submerge the chicken whole then follow the same finishing steps. This brine recipe is the same one I use for my thanksgiving turkey.

Lotte Hotel Seattle
Charlotte Restaurant & Lounge
809 5th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104


November 2020

We've worked hard to upgrade this site. Click here to notify us of any problems we need to correct.



Subscription has its privileges - Each month Seattle DINING! publishes new features on new restaurants, food and beverage news from around the Northwest and special events. Don't miss out on these informative stories.

Sign up today for your FREE subscription and you'll get notification each month when the new issue comes on line. You'll also be the first to find out about special Seattle DINING! events.  What are you waiting for? Sign up now!

 Click here to sign up now!