Family's passion for food led Haight to culinary school and days jam-packed with ingredient sourcing, prepping and cooking.

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What do you do? I’m the chef of Pintxo, a small Spanish tapas restaurant in the heart of Belltown. In small restaurant terms, that means that I do a bit of everything from creating a seasonal menu and using the skills I learned at culinary school to also fixing things when they break at the restaurant and even serving the food at busier times.

How did you get started in that field? My family. Both sides are very passionate about food — [visiting] my father’s parents living in Napa Valley … as well as my mom’s side being in the restaurant business for two generations, although I never had the opportunity to work with them.

What’s a typical day like? It starts out with picking up bread at La Parisienne bakery and having a coffee. Then popping into the restaurant to open and set up the kitchen for the day with my sous [chef], Emelio. I start a few prep projects that are time sensitive followed by heading to Pike Place Market to pick up seafood and small produce items. After that, I return to the restaurant to break down the seafood, portion the plates and continue prepping for service and projects for the week. Once service starts I cook and expedite the food. I try to visit the tables when time allows. … After service we clean up and usually call it a day around 12:30 a.m.

What’s the best part of the job? Getting to work with such a passionate and unique staff, followed by working with the great seasonal ingredients available from our finer purveyors such as Vinea Imports and Pure seafood. I’ve lived in other cities, but the Northwest ingredients make it such a pleasure to live and cook here.

What surprises people about what you do? The time commitment and the not-so-glamorous duties. I feel like being a chef has been overly glamorized by media in recent years. However I think that same spotlight has brought a greater awareness of quality food and dining, which is great to see.

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