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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 the Fairmont Olympic Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Manager Eraj Jayawickreme. With the hotel's proximity to Puget Sound waters and farmland, they focus on Pacific Northwest producers, farmers, and suppliers to produce unforgettable dining experiences, whether at the Olympic Bar, The George dining room, Shuckers, or the Founders Club cocktail bar.

With over 20 years of culinary industry experience, Chef Eraj Jayawickreme creates dishes that are both sensational in taste and visually dazzling. Better known as "Chef E," his strong commitment to respect for food is represented in how he uses time honored techniques to coax flavors out of ingredients to bring a dish to its full potential. As Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Manager of Fairmont Olympic, Chef E oversees the hotel's food and beverage operations and culinary direction. "I work diligently to include ingredients in this region to create a memorable dining experience for our guests when they come to Fairmont Olympic," said Chef E. "With the wide range of dishes that we offer to our guests at each of our Food and Beverage outlets, I have curated the menus to be a warm welcome to the heart of downtown Seattle."

 Chef E's Career has covered many styles and cuisines from his early culinary work in Cranbrook, Canada, and later even opening his own restaurant with a modern approach. In his most recent position, he served as Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Manager of Fairmont Palliser in Calgary.

Reverse searing red meat to hold the umami, by Executive Chef Eraj Jayawickreme

I recommend reverse searing all red meat. Reverse searing is done by initially cooking the meat in the oven to the desired wellness and finishing the process by a sear. This is far different from the traditional method of searing red meat, as the reverse sear assists in enhancing the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction of amino acids and reducing sugars that result in seared or browned food to hold a distinctive flavor. The Maillard Reaction is important to follow because a traditional sear results in the red meat losing moisture, which ultimately attributes to the beautiful crust from the initial sear. By reverse searing, the red meat is able to caramelize and hold the umami stay through the final steps in the cooking process.

Reverse Seared Rib Eye Steak


  • 1 thick rib eye steak, 2 in (5 cm)
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 shallot peeled and roughly sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 200°F.
  2. Pat the steak dry with a paper towel, and generously season all sides of the steak with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer to a wire rack on top of a baking sheet, and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the internal temperature reads about 119°F for rare. Adjust the bake time for a more rare or well-done finish.
  4. Heat the canola oil in a pan over high heat until smoking. Do not use olive oil, as its smoke point is significantly lower than that of grapeseed oil and will smoke before reaching the desired cooking temperature.
  5. Sear the steak for 1 minute on one side, then flip.
  6. Add the butter, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and shallots and swirl around the pan. Transfer the garlic and herbs on top of the steak and baste the steak with the butter using a large spoon.
  7. Baste for about 1 minute, then flip the steak with tongs and baste the other side for about 15 seconds.
  8. Turn the steak on its side and cook to render off any excess fat.
  9. Rest the steak for 5 minutes, and slice to desired thickness.
  10. Enjoy!

Meat Temperature Guide:

Rare steak temp: 125°F - bright red in the middle
Medium rare steak temp: 135°F - warm red in the middle
Medium steak temp: 145°F - warm pink at the center
Medium well steak temp: 150°F - slightly pink at the center
Well done steak temp: 160°F - little to no pink throughout

Fairmont Olympic Hotel
411 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

June 2022

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