The Seattle Food Establishment: Second Annual List

The 50 most powerful players in Seattle's food scene, plus one to watch.

20. Joe Whinney
Founder, Theo Chocolate
Place on list last year: No. 20

Because: This tireless supporter of organic, sustainable, fair-trade cacao beans turned his mission into a sweet success and has been forging impressive partnerships far (Jane Goodall Institute, the Eastern Congo Initiative with Ben Affleck) and near (FareStart, PCC Farmland Trust). In 2012, Whinney was honored with a Global Citizen Award from the Krista Foundation. New projects: Continued distribution expansion; now available in supermarkets nationwide. Employees: 85;

19. Andrew Stout
Founder and chief farmer, Full Circle Farms
Place on list last year: No. 37

Because: The man is a force of nature, turning his 5-acre farm into a 450-acre brand name while “answering the call to fix a broken food system.” Starting as a local CSA, Full Circle now delivers organically grown fruits, veggies and artisan food products year-round to customers in Washington, Idaho, Alaska and the (most recently) the Bay Area. Employees: 170;

18. Mark and Michael Klebeck, and Joel Radin
Owners, Top Pot Hand-forged Doughnuts
Place on list last year: No. 29

Because: They’re everywhere! Not only did these genuinely sweet guys (Radin not pictured) launch six new cafés last year, they’re continuing to expand into Madison Valley, First Hill and Issaquah this year. Watch out, waistlines! New projects: They introduced a line of doughnutty-good ice cream in 2012, and plan to develop franchises in New York City later this year. Employees: 250;

17. Keith Carpenter and Harry Hegarty
Founders, Wood Stone Corporation
Place on list last year: Not ranked

Because: The Bellingham-based company that built its reputation making custom stone hearth ovens for the likes of Tom Douglas (Serious Pie, Brave Horse Tavern), Ethan Stowell (Rione XIII) and all of the Tutta Bella locations, also makes specialty cooktops and ovens, including the plancha on which Blaine Wetzel cooks at Willows Inn. Wood Stone’s Josper, a charcoal broiler oven, has earned a cult following: Portland’s Woodsman Tavern has one, as does Danny Meyer’s North End Grill in NYC. The only Seattle restaurants to boast Jospers? Cafe Lago and El Gaucho. New projects: Tabletop steamers. Coming off a year with profits increasing 25 percent, the company is looking at increasing its innovative cookware and custom offerings. Employees: 115;

16. Jennifer Shea
Owner, Trophy Cupcakes
Place on list last year: No. 21

Because: Shea’s Tiffany blue and chocolate brown color scheme is instantly recognizable and unquestionably upscale. In the last year, the company has grown to include four shops and two carts at CenturyLink Field. And fans can’t get enough, especially for timely ideas—remember the Beast Mode cupcake for the Seahawks? New projects: Shea’s first book, Trophy Cupcakes and Parties, will publish in the fall with 37 cupcake recipes and 20 party-theme ideas complete with tips on décor, craft ideas, even Shea’s favorite party snacks and cocktails. Employees: Approximately 40;

15. Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi
Chefs/owners of Revel and Joule
2007, with Joule
Place on list last year: No. 22

Because: This power duo deftly juggles two wildly popular restaurants—Joule (newly relocated to Stone Way) and Fremont gem Revel—in addition to teaching monthly cooking classes, frequently appearing at charity events and taking care of two young sons. They loop their kiddos into their busy schedules often enough that 3-year-old Pike is already an aspiring back-of-the-house guy. His favorite place to play: the dish pit. New projects: “We are just enjoying Revel and Joule right now,” Yang says. Employees: 45;,

14. Renee Erickson
Chef/owner of Boat Street Café and Kitchen, The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins and CEO of Boat Street Pickles
1998, with Boat Street Cafe
Place on list last year: No. 41

Because: Together with her business partners, Chad Dale and Jeremy Price, Erickson is all about satisfying her need to feed with new enterprises. The Whale Wins made a big splash at its debut last year, already showing up in national food mags, and her pickle business keeps expanding its reach, finding a nifty niche at Murray’s Cheese Shops in Manhattan and its satellite shops in area QFCs. New projects: She’s rolling out Narwhal this spring, a seafood-centric food truck that will focus on catering and regular weekly gigs around town, as well as expanding Boat Street Pickles’ offerings with the help of her mom, Shirlee. Employees: 65;,,

13. Jody Hall
Founder and owner, Cupcake Royale
Place on list last year: No. 24

Because: Local specialty cupcake shop trend was started by Hall, and this year she started another trend: cupcake-inspired ice cream flavors, which can be found in the six Cupcake Royale locations. Hall has also been outspoken about workers’ rights (she provides health care for all of her employees) and marriage equality. Employees: About 100;

12. Chris Curtis
Director of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance
1993, when Curtis founded the University District Farmers Market
Place on list last year: No. 11

Because: Twenty years after its founding, the Seattle farmers’ market movement is stronger than ever: Fifty-thousand new customers visited local farmers’ markets in 2012, resulting in an 8 percent increase in sales to farmers. The mainstreaming of shopping seasonally and locally—at farmers’ markets in so many area neighborhoods—is a direct result of Curtis’ work. New projects: While no new markets are planned, new vendors will join the Phinney Ridge, Magnolia and Lake City markets, and the Columbia City Farmers Market will open early for chefs. These and most of the seasonal neighborhood markets start their 2013 seasons in late May or early June. Employees: 103 in 2013 (up from 98 in 2011);

11. Mark and Brian Canlis
Co-owners, Canlis Restaurant
Place on list last year: No. 9

Because: The third generation of this family business has consistently hit the refresh button at the landmark restaurant. Whether it’s through engaging social media or giving chef Jason Franey the freedom to update the menu, the brothers seem to be having a lot of fun. New projects: A dramatic remodel of the wine cellar, including a dazzling new glassed-in Champagne cellar. Employees: 80;