Seattle’s 2016 Culinary Tastemakers
By Seattle Mag
December 14, 2016
It’s safe to say no one else in the Seattle area is doing what these chefs do (or doing it as well). For their unique and creative approaches to diversifying Seattle’s cuisine, we dub the following our 2016 Tastemakers.
Arabic Brunch Goddess
Skip the pancakes and head to the Central District, stat, for Taylor Cheney’s Yalla (Facebook: “‘Yalla Seattle”), an authentic Arabic-themed pop-up at The Atlantic (2519 S Jackson St.; 206.329.5499; theatlanticseattle.com). On weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Cheney, a former La Bête chef, and her sidekick, Kurdish-born Pinar Ozhal, prepare traditional Syrian, Turkish and Egyptian breakfast foods: warm pita straight from the wood-fired oven; lemony-smooth hummus; flawless falafel encrusted with whole coriander; kicky zaatar pie studded with fermented turnips. Cheney, whose Saudi Arabian neighbors inspired her interest in Middle Eastern cuisine, spent time cooking in restaurants in Egypt, and knows her ful (the national fava bean dish). Not the brunch type? Catch her Arabic mezze pop up—with inventive cocktails by Lebanese bartender Samira Bechara—on Mondays from 4:30 to 10 p.m. at The Atlantic. Your tastebuds will thank you.
Nashville Hot Chicken Guy
Nashville restaurateur Jake Manny sure brought the heat with him when he returned to Seattle earlier this year. The Bainbridge native spent his five years in Tennessee falling in love with Nashville’s brand of fiery, fried chicken. He has perfected his version at the cozy, all-ages Georgetown bar, Sisters and Brothers (Georgetown, 1128 S Albro Pl, 206.762.3767; sistersandbrothersbar.com), where lines wrap around the block to get a taste of the deeply-complex and crunchy chicken (you choose naked, mild, hot, or insane). Manny and executive chef Jessie Smith (formerly of SkyCity at the Needle) fry Draper Valley chickens in a heavenly blend of lard and spices (we tasted thyme, cumin and cayenne) and recently expanded their menu to include beloved Southern side dishes—and, wait for it—have plans to eventually add buckets of hot chicken to-go. Now, we’re in love.
He’s been teaching youth cooking classes in Hillman City for years and blowing up the Royal Room (Columbia City, 5000 Rainier Ave. S, 206.906.9920; theroyalroomseattle.com) with his popular Mediterranean-North African brunch pop up, Morning Star (cheftarik.com). Now, Seattle native Tarik Abdullah, a former Cicchetti sous chef, is unleashing his creative sweet tooth via Rose & Blossom, a Moroccan pop-up bakery (South Lake Union, Lick Pure Cream, 434 Yale Ave. N, 206.854.1027; lickpc.com) featuring goodies like ras al hanout (a North African spice blend) doughnuts dipped in rose glaze and walnut ghriba (a type of cookie) sandwiches stuffed with chamomile vanilla pistachio ice cream. The desserts will make an appearance at Abdullah’s next venture (you know, because he has so much free time): Black and Tan, a community-funded performing arts space and restaurant in the former Maxims building in Hillman City. (Pop-up schedule on Facebook: “A DJ and A Cook”). Can’t. Wait.