The people who run your favorite restaurants want to learn to play the saxophone better, cook (and eat!) more duck, drink more Champagne, bake cookies for the garbage man, and more in 2017. Feel free to join them!
Nobody seems sad to say goodbye to last year. On social media and in actual conversations, the general sentiment has been “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, 2016.”
But, now, the new year … “bleak” springs to mind.
Deep breaths, everybody.
For 2017, I resolve to have soothing cups of tea, or something stronger, as often as needed. I will write more about the awesome — as in, actually inspiring awe — local nonprofit organizations doing the food-equity work that’s going to become more and more crucial as our national political landscape tilts and income inequality grows. (The Rainier Valley Food Bank, FareStart, City Fruit, and Operation Sack Lunch shared their marvelous, moving stories with me in 2016 — please send them money, please give them your time. And please send me your ideas for people doing generous, great work to profile now.) In the event of a Trumpian attempt to dismantle the FDA, or the defunding of SNAP (the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps), I’ll be keeping our senators and house reps on speed-dial.
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Here’s what some of Seattle’s favorite chefs are resolved to do.
Edouardo Jordan, Salare (and, in 2017, JuneBaby): “To get my braces off so no more food is stuck in my damn teeth. To sleep more. To eat not standing up at least four times a week.”
Matt Tinder, Saboteur Bakery: “Work less, make more (bread).”
Brendan McGill, Hitchcock, etc. (and, in 2017, Bruciato): “Less Facebook, more books.”
Shaun McCrain, Copine: “Just keep doing what I’m doing, but better.”
Donna Moodie, Marjorie: “I want to make a personal commitment to advance the black community and women through neighborhood activism, using the restaurant as a vehicle.”
Shota Nakajima, Naka: “Start working with local fishermen and learn more about the fishing culture in Seattle and be part of it! Be more engaged with the Japanese community to see what I can do to help. Be more healthy and not survive off energy drinks and cigarettes.”
Renee Erickson, Bateau, etc.: “Generally, I go with the very exciting ‘Exercise more,’ so I can drink more Champagne!”
Blaine Wetzel, the Willows Inn: “We had a nice guest in at the Willows who brought some really tasty old local wines. He mentioned that he never drinks a wine under 10 years old, and only his favorites. He said starting his wine cellar was the best thing he ever did — a retirement plan for the dinner time. So it’s my resolution to start a wine cellar for my future self by buying one case of wine (or half-case) each month, setting aside all but one bottle. If I can keep it up, I will have no problem keeping friends and drinking well for years to come.”
Wayne Johnson, FareStart: “Eat more sushi. Partner with more area farmers to help bring more education to the FareStart students. Take at least two cross-country trips to visit family. And since I did not grow a foot and a half and join the NBA [his resolution last year], I’ll remain 5’ 8” and resolve to be the best giving chef in Seattle 2017.”
Heather Earnhardt, the Wandering Goose: “Practice my cartwheels more with my 8-year-old so I don’t hurt my back every time I try one. Bake cookies and biscuits for my garbage man again — he’s like, ‘What’s up? Since you opened that restaurant, I never get anything anymore!’ Build my cookie/cake cart — make whatever cookies or cake I want, then push it around and see if anyone buys anything. And probably the most important thing I am striving to do this year? To not rush. No rushing. Bake a cake, do not rush. Play a board game with my kids, do not rush. Zest 50 lemons, do not rush. Enjoy it all and be in the moment. Do not rush.”
Tom Douglas, Tom Douglas Restaurants: “My New Year’s resolution is to duck: Chinese duck with crispy cheong fun noodles and fermented black bean sauce; Czechoslovakian duck with caraway sauerkraut, bread dumplings, sweet onion gravy; French duck with bitter orange peel, Armagnac, lusty lentils du Puy; my Weber-grill duck, slow-roasted with an oak fire, sitting and dripping over a pan of Yukon Gold potatoes, young spicy collard greens … Should I keep going? I love duck!”
Eric Rivera, Bookstore Bar: “I want to keep challenging what’s possible. I don’t want to get caught looking around and seeing what everyone else is doing or trying to play into a theme of what’s cool. I’m not cool and never have been, so why start now? And I want to make more chefs. I get tired of hearing chefs looking for ‘good’ cooks. Why try to fill a void? Why not work with what you have, and actually be a chef that trains people to become what you are? And I need more spicy food in my life.”
Tamara Murphy, Terra Plata: “Experience at least one new ethnic restaurant per month and get to know the owners and learn more about their food — I’m tired of white-people food. I’ve not been much of a joiner in the past, but would like to be on the board of something around climate or environmental change. And when I left Campagne, they gave me a saxophone, and I took lessons and could play a tune or two — I’m going to learn how to play it for real!”
Jason Stratton, Mbar: “I resolve to start a YouTube channel dedicated to me lip-syncing to the top 100 songs that got me through this long [expletive] year. I resolve to eat at Kedai Makan more frequently cuz Kevin’s food is so damn good. And have more dinner parties!”
Maximillian Petty, Eden Hill: “All these industry folks eat at Eden Hill, and I make a lot of promises about going to other chefs’ restaurants, so my resolution is to eat through my list of places, two a month. So far I have made reservations through March … I can’t wait. And a classic one: Find what whatever magic fairy dust Ethan Stowell tapped into and shed some holiday weight — I want my dad bod to be ready when babycakes is swim-ready.”
Maria Hines, Maria Hines Restaurants: “Personally, keep sugar under the Heart Association’s daily allowance (6 teaspoons) a day. Politically, become active in the Puget Sound Regional Food Policy Council. Restaurants, throw more fun food events for the community.”
Poncharee “PK” Kounpungchart, Little Uncle: “This year, I will eat more than just noodles. Before my trip to India, I had no idea that eating with your hands can taste so good — to feel the different textures and smell each flavor as you touch them is something else. I will eat new dishes I have never even heard of. I will listen to people who do not agree with me. I will talk to family members who voted for Trump, because I need to practice my debate skills. In 2017, I will be open-minded, listen more and talk less, and live a little. Life is so short, why be fearful?”