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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 Chef de Cuisine Andrew Mayfield of Water's Table at Hyatt Regency Lake Washington. Water's Table offers a taste of the Pacific Northwest with award-winning farm-to-table fare and lakefront views.

Chef Andrew Mayfield brings a fresh take to Water's Table Restaurant, rooted in local, fresh, and sustainable cooking. Born in Renton, Washington, Chef Andrew brings his passion and understanding of the PNW into the dining experience at Water's Table. During a visit to Japan at the age of 16, he enjoyed Kaiseki cuisine, an artful culinary tradition taking ingredients at the peak of freshness with dishes presented simply for each flavor to be expressed. That experience has stayed with him, and he vividly remembers enjoying a piece of tuna that was so delicious it brought him to tears! Chef Andrew started his culinary journey with Ethan Stowell Restaurant group, most recently working at Red Cow, before joining the Water's Table team in 2019. Now at the helm of Water's Table Restaurant as Chef de Cuisine, he brings his deep passion for culinary experiences and locally-sourced ingredients to highlight the history of the PNW into all of his dishes, ensuring the best dining experience with each visit.

Pan roast your spices!, by Chef de Cuisine Andrew Mayfield

When it comes to adding spices, some cooks can be timid in adding enough to give that punch of flavor that is distinguishable. Toasting or roasting spices can add to the experience of any dish. Any recipe that has dried, hard spices will be enhanced by this technique. The perfect cheat code to unlocking the flavor of aromatics is to get the natural oil in the spice out of its harsher shell and ramp up the flavor to your tongue. You can do this in a variety of ways, but my favorite is pan roasting. I love pan roasting because it makes my house smell amazing and gets my family thinking of the meal ahead! Don't limit the experience to the recipe I will share with you. Anything that has dried hard spices will be enhanced by this technique.

Toasted Spice Brine


  • 2 quart, or above, pot
  • Large bowl or pot with the same capacity
  • 1 6-10" pan (preferably without non-stick coating)
  • 1 silicone spatula
  • 1 wire strainer - a standard pasta colander will also work
  • Cutting board
  • 6-8" chef's knife


  • 4 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp of black peppercorns whole
  • 5-10 sprigs of thyme (a small bundle is what you are looking for)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup of salt (course kosher preferred, but any type will work)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 4 cups of Ice


  1. Measure and reserve the fennel and pepper in a small bowl on the side. Place water, salt, thyme, and bay leaf in pot. Place over medium high heat.
  2. Next, smash the garlic cloves one at a time with the side of the knife, add them to the pot.
  3. Then start the 6-10" pan over another burner on medium high heat. Let the pan warm up for about a full minute.
  4. Add the black peppercorns and fennel to the pan. It's important to keep them moving the whole time. There are two methods of doing this, if confident, swirl the spices in the pan by the handle, if not, use a silicone spatula to keep them moving.
  5. When the fennel has changed color to golden brown and starts to lightly smoke, turn off the heat, pick up the pan, and dump out the toasted spices into the large pot with the brine. Your nose will tell you that it's working.
  6. As soon as the mixture starts to boil, turn off the heat let sit for at least 15-20 minutes; I normally wait about an hour.
  7. Put ice in large bowl or pot that has the same volume as the pot with the brine. Place the strainer on top.
  8. Slowly pour the brine into the strainer.
  9. When all of the liquid has cooled to below 41 degrees add meat and set a timer based on this quick reference below.

Use enough to immerse the meat of choice. I store the remainder in the fridge and use throughout the week. Discard any brine after one use with protein:

  • Shrimp or scallops: 15 to 30 minutes
  • Fish fillets: 10 to 30 minutes
  • Whole fish: 1 to 3 hours
  • Boneless chicken pieces: 30 minutes
  • Bone-in chicken pieces: 1 to 2 hours
  • Whole chicken: 4 to 12 hours
  • Cornish game hen: 1 to 2 hours
  • Turkey breast: 4 to 12 hours
  • Whole turkey: 12 to 24 hours
  • Boneless pork chops: 30 minutes
  • Bone-in pork chops: 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Whole pork tenderloin: 1 to 2 hours
  • Whole pork loin: 2 to 12 hours

Water's Table
Hyatt Regency Lake Washington
at Seattle's Southport
1053 Lake Washington Blvd N
Renton, WA 98056


January 2022

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