2017 Featured Chefs
Ryan Burnett is the Room Chef at the award-winning Coyaba restaurant at the Muckleshoot Casino. Prior to coming to Coyaba, Ryan worked as a personal chef, and as the sous chef in charge of corporate catering for REI from 2006-10.
Gourdet is the Culinary Director for Departure Restaurant, a forward-thinking, pan-Asian restaurant with locations in Portland and Cherry Creek, CO. Gourdet was a pre-med student with a Mohawk when he discovered a passion for cooking. The Mohawk stuck with him, but Gourdet made the leap from medicine to menus and worked his way up to Sous Chef at Jean-Georges. Later, as Chef de Cuisine at modern Chinese eatery, Restaurant 66, Gourdet cultivated an affinity for the Asian flavors for which he is known at Departure. Gourdet brings his health-mindedness to the table, offering delicious gluten-free, vegan, and paleo menus to guests at Departure. He was named Chef of the Year by Eater in 2014. Then, in 2015 he was the runner-up on season 12 of Top Chef and a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest.
Wesley Hood was born and raised in Spokane, Washington before he moved to the greater Seattle area to pursue his interests in culinary arts. Although he had no formal training, his natural talent and fiery ambition led him to hold positions at many well-known Seattle area restaurants such as Palisade, Elliott’s Oyster House and Union Square Grill. In 2008, Wesley began his career with El Gaucho Hospitality at AQUA by El Gaucho (formerly Waterfront Seafood Grill) then onto El Gaucho Bellevue in early 2012 to take the helm as Sous Chef. Most recently, Wesley has returned to AQUA as Executive Chef.
Stephanie Izard, 2013 James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes recipient, and 2011 Food & Wine Best New Chef, is the Executive Chef/Partner of three Chicago restaurants: Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, and Duck Duck Goat. A 2011 James Beard Best New Restaurant nominee, Girl & the Goat has been praised by high-profile publications such as Saveur, New York Times, and others. Little Goat, Stephanie’s highly successful follow-up, encompasses a diner, coffee shop, bakery and bar. In March 2016, Stephanie opened her third restaurant, a Chinese concept called Duck Duck Goat. Izard was the first woman to win Bravo’s Top Chef (Season 4) and is the only winner of the original version of the show to take the title of “Fan Favorite.”
Kristen Kish was born in South Korea and adopted into a family in Kentwood, MI. She showed an affinity for cooking at a young age. After moving to Boston, Kish worked in many high-profile restaurants including Michelin-star Chef Guy Martin’s Sensing and Barbara Lynch’s Stir. Kish competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Season 10 where she won the coveted title, becoming the second female chef to win. She went on to become Chef de Cuisine of Menton, Chef Barbara Lynch’s fine dining restaurant. Most recently, Kish was co-host of “36 Hours,” a Travel Channel show that partnered with The New York Times to bring the hit newspaper column to television. Kish is currently traveling and working on her cookbook.
Jason Stratton began his career at the early age of 16 at Seattle’s Le Gourmand restaurant. While attending Evergreen State College, he worked at the now-closed Avenue One until moving to Cafe Juanita in 2002, where he served as a line cook and then a sous chef. In 2008, Stratton left for a 6-month sabbatical to Granada and upon his return, became co-chef at Poppy, where he worked until joining Spinasse in 2009. While at Spinasse, Stratton was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs for 2010 and opened both Artusi and Aragona, a James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2014. In September 2015, Stratton became General Manager and Executive Chef of Capitol Hill’s mamnoon. This year, he opened mbar, an upscale rooftop restaurant and bar in Seattle’s burgeoning South Lake Union neighborhood.
A San Diego and Baja favorite for over 15 years, Chad White’s wild creativity, authentic sense of flavor and organic fearlessness drive his kitchens. He was named “The Seafood Maverick” after being recognized as one of San Diego’s best seafood chefs at Sea Rocket Bistro. After falling in love with Mexico, White opened eateries on both sides of the U.S. southern border: La Justina in Tijuana and Craft Pizza Company and Común Kitchen & Tavern in San Diego, where he was named Eater’s Chef of the Year in 2015. He has also been featured on Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and most recently as a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef Season 13. This summer, Chef White brought his borderless flavors to his hometown in Spokane, Washington with Zona Blanca, a new ceviche bar.