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BLOOM

Improving urban life through better food

It may seem surprising that a fine-fast-healthy dining concept was created by the CEO of a real estate development company, however, knowing a bit more about the family-owned company reduces some of that surprise. Their business and mission aim to improve the human condition, particularly for those living in the city.

Christian Chan (owner), Felipe Prieto (Chef), Tanner Smith (Sous Chef), Melinda Dunham (GM)

CEO Christian Chan (second generation) runs the Seattle operations and led the development of Nexus, a downtown high-rise, which is "the evolution of urban living." Living with food allergies and traveling frequently, Christian wanted to create a place where busy people living in urban areas could still maintain a healthy lifestyle. Guided by a Michelin star chef in the family, the original menu began taking form. The now head chef at BLOOM, Felipe Prieto, continues the creation and elevation of the restaurant's dishes.

While the idea of building your own meal (or choosing a curated one) is not new, the rest of the concept is. Everything they offer is meant to be both better tasting and better for you. Food is gluten free, dairy free, and red meat free. There are vegan and meat proteins (Vegan Curry Meatballs; Tare Tofu; Pakora Fritters; Shio Koji Chicken Breast; Turkey Meatballs with ginger, scallion, tare sauce; Miso Amino Salmon). To fill your bento box, you choose a base (grains or greens), then add one hot side, two cold sides, and something pickled. Six hot sides range from Yellow Lentil Dahl to Chili Roasted Broccolini to Japanese Sweet Potatoes. Eight cold sides include items like Sour Cherry Roasted Beets, Miso Curry Cauliflower, BLOOM Potato Salad with purple potatoes, Fennel Zucchini Noodles, and more. Pickle options include Persian Cucumber, Pickled Fresno, Red Onion, and a seasonal item. It's quite a lot of food for the current price of $15.50 (there is a $3 upcharge for salmon). They also offer house-made snacks like chips, plus brownies and turmeric dark chocolate chip cookies. Sweets are vegan and gluten free.

Bento box with salmon

GM Melinda Dunham has been with BLOOM for over a year. She and Christian bonded over living wellness and allergen-minded lifestyles. "The concept has been in the works for two years. We want to be on the leading edge in Seattle with this concept," she explains. "People may want to eat healthy at every meal, may choose a vegan lifestyle, may want to go meatless once or twice a week. We want to offer something good for everyone and be a source they can trust for good healthy food. The food is chef-driven. Extra detail and time on the back end mean the end product tastes great. We grill lemons for salad, and our sauces are next level. We use a mushroom powder that provides natural umami, and a miso marinade for the salmon, removing the need for excessive salt. We never use canola oil or saturated fat. The only things we fry are chips and fritters, and we use rice oil." Bottom line, everything you eat from BLOOM is beneficial to you.

Service line

Ingredients are sourced locally and are organic whenever possible. Since much of the food they make is seasonal, it is easier for them to be flexible. If costs rise too steeply or there is a shortage of a certain ingredient, they move to another fresh item. Much prep is done before opening and items are replenished throughout open hours so the food is always fresh.

Sustainability is important to BLOOM, as are design and aesthetics. The bento box design was given a lot of thought, everything is compostable. In the kitchen, they cross-utilize and create as little waste as they possibly can. Left-over sweet potatoes are used for the pakora fritters; greens are used for chimichurri. They also participate with the app Too Good To Go, that lets people know if there is any food remaining at the end of the day, available for purchase at a discount. "We're proud to have virtually zero waste daily," says Melinda.

BLOOM opened at the end of April and is currently open only for lunch (11 a.m.-3 p.m. daily). Food can be ordered online and picked up or customers can simply walk in, choose their meal, and head out. For now, there is no indoor seating, everything is to go. They may think about putting a railing up at some point where a few people could eat inside, but for now it remains pick up. They have begun catering with two tiers. Up to 30 guests can order fully-packaged box lunches with dessert and drink; after 30, it moves to the buffet lunch format. "Corporate lunches are big. We work with one corporation that has made the decision that 70% of food they get for the team must be vegan. We recently did a rooftop happy hour that was all appetizers."

Cookie!

Most of the team, including Melinda, have worked in fine dining, so quick service is new to them. Melinda worked as GM with Heavy Restaurant Group for many years and helped open the last three Heavy locations. "I was able to help create this concept from the beginning; it's been very exciting. We all want to bring that fine dining experience and quality bar to this quick service concept. Everyone here has embraced the mission and we all are nourished by staff meals. Our current hours help us maintain our work/life balance. While here, everyone steps in where needed. You could be doing prep, then helping walk customers through the process of creating their meal."

If this proof-of-concept location works, we'll hopefully see more locations bloom around the area.

Connie Adams/August 2022

BLOOM
1808 Minor Ave, Ste 100
Seattle, WA 98101
206-651-3683

www.bloomfoods.com


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