Tom Douglas, Seattle-based chef, has been cooking up Pacific Northwest cuisine since 1984, opening his own restaurant, Dahlia Lounge, in 1989. For the last 30 years, he’s made a name for himself alongside business partner and wife Jackie Cross and business partner (since 2006) Eric Tanaka by opening 13 full-service restaurants; an event space, Palace Ballroom; a cooking school, Hot Stove Society; and a product line including rubs, spices and knives. Beyond the restaurants, the James Beard Outstanding Restauranteur award winner has a weekly radio show, Seattle Kitchen, where he talks food, wine, and anything else that’s on his mind. The recognizable chef, self-described as “middle-aged, tall, and round”, can be found at any of his restaurants on a given day putting in the work to create a successful restaurant group. As he reminds himself and his staff, “no one can out effort us.”
Ana Sortun graduated from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine de Paris and opened her restaurant, Oleana, in 2001, immediately drawing rave reviews from the New York Times. She was named Best Chef in the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2005, and went on to open Sofra Bakery and Café. She also co-owns Sarma in Somerville and is the author of two cookbooks—Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean and Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes from Sofra Bakery (with Maura Kilpatrick). Ana is known for bringing Middle Eastern flavors into the mainstream through her passion of Turkish cooking, Spices and her husband’s (Chris Kurth of Siena Farms) fresh, organic vegetables. A 2015, 2016, and 2017 James beard “Outstanding Chef” semi finalist, among her many accomplishments, solidifies her as a leading chef.