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Topic: Ethan Stowell
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May 7, 2013 at 6:00 AM
It’s a good thing it’s an honor just to be nominated, because the 2013 James Beard awards weren’t kind to Seattle.
Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in Portland took the “Best Chef Northwest” category of the awards, commonly known as the Oscars of the food world, beating out a group that included Seattleites Jason Franey of Canlis and Ethan Stowell of Staple+Fancy. Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco was the national “Rising Star Chef,” a prestigious category where the finalists included Blaine Wetzel of the Willows Inn on Lummi Island. In the cookbook awards ceremony Friday night, three locals were finalists — Michael Natkin for Herbivoracious in the Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian category (Roots by Portland’s Diane Morgan took the medal), The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle for Baking and Desserts (Portland’s Ken Forkish won for Flour Water Salt Yeast), and Modernist Cuisine at Home by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet, of the Bellevue-based Cooking Lab, in general cooking (breaking the Portland lock, at least, that category was won by Canal House Cooks Every Day by New Jersey-based Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer.)
The complete list of 2013 winners is online here. And if there’s a consolation prize — beyond the fact that the nomination really is something to celebrate — it’s that some of the most notable awards, as L.A. Times reporters remarked, were “long overdue.” That’s starting to be true for Canlis and Stowell’s restaurants too.
April 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM
First came the self-checkout line in the supermarket. Then there was the online restaurant reservation. Don’t forget the iPhone credit card reader apps. And now, diners at least at a few Seattle restaurants, have the “RAIL” payment system. It splits the check, it calculates the tip, and it’s supposed to keep credit card transactions more secure.
Ethan Stowell just started using the system (developed by Kirkland-based Viableware) at his newest Seattle restaurants, Bar Cotto and Rione XIII. Customers will get a bill in what looks like the typical pleather bill folder, but, in this case, is a small electronic device with an encrypted credit card swiper. Customers can swipe their own cards and email receipts to themselves, or there’s an option to pay cash. The theory is that using the device will save servers (and customers) the time of having servers return to the table to grab the card, run the information, and walk back to drop off the receipt, while it will save customers the concern of having their credit cards out of their hands, or any worries about tip amounts being altered. (On the other side, will restaurateurs now need to worry about customers taking home the electronic devices?) A few restaurant chains, including P.F. Chang’s and Restaurants Unlimited, started using the system last year.
It was beta-tested at Boom Noodle, where Geekwire’s John Cook asked the all-important clincher question: What happens if you spill red wine or teriyaki sauce on an electronic bill? Viableware CEO Joe Snell told Cook that even ketchup is no problem; the system was designed for the “typical wear and tear in a restaurant environment.” No word on what happens if kids at the table try programming the device to play Plants vs. Zombies while the grownups linger over their coffee.
March 18, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Several Seattle authors and chefs were on the list when finalists for the prestigious James Beard awards were announced Monday morning.
For cookbooks, Michael Natkin’s Herbivoracious was a finalist in the Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian category, and The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle was nominated for Baking and Desserts. Modernist Cuisine at Home by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet, of the Bellevue-based Cooking Lab, was a finalist in general cooking (its 6-volume predecessor, Modernist Cuisine, won two awards last year, including cookbook of the year.) Natkin, in an interesting twist, now also works for Seattle-based ChefSteps, which was founded by a handful of former members of the Modernist Cuisine team.
In the chef and restaurant awards, Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island was a finalist for Rising Star Chef, a high-flying category whose past winners includes David Chang and Marcus Samuelsson.
In the Best Chef Northwest category, there were no surprises in the all-star lineup, all of whom have been nominated for Beards in past years: Jason Franey of Canlis and Ethan Stowell of Staple+Fancy (and other ventures) are up against Portlandites Naomi Pomeroy of Beast, Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon (who won the Rising Star Chef award in 2011), and Cathy Whims of Nostrana.
Winners will be announced in May in New York City. The complete list is online here. The finalists list was narrowed down from these semifinalists — I was disappointed that more of the local semifinalists weren’t honored today. Who would have been on your list?
Photo of Michael Natkin by Alan Berner/The Seattle Times