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Travis Kukull, Gastropod

"I've been into food as long as I can remember." His parents cooked at home a lot. His mom's father dreamed of being a chef, but instead was a steel worker. He volunteered for the salmon bank on Vashon Island, and they would dig geoducks there. His dad's mother was head of the Snohomish County School District lunch program.

"As kids, it was our responsibility to feed ourselves, so my brother and I made our own food. We'd just look in the 'fridge and see what was there. After awhile, we wanted more ideas, so we'd get fine dining/cooking magazines. When our parents were out of town, we'd have pop-up dinners at our house and charge $5. My brother had the first industry job: he worked at Arnie's in Edmonds."

Travis attended Shorewood High School and went through the gourmet food courses and home economics. After graduation, he attended the Edmonds Community College culinary program. At 18, he was trying to figure out what he wanted to do, so he transferred to the University of Washington and received his degree in English. While at school, he worked at restaurants: the Seattle Yacht Club, Mona's (when it was old school and offered rustic French food). "I learned a lot from the chef there, Leslie Carmen. She had worked at Campagne." He then worked at Mandalay Café in Wallingford. "This is where my flavor knowledge blew up. It opened the world."

After college graduation, he lived in Maui for a year and worked at Pacifico in Lahaina. He spent a summer in Alaska at the Hotel Halsingland in Haines where they'd catch their own fish and he learned to forage mushrooms. Then a year in New York working at Stone Park Café in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Returning to Seattle, he worked the Asian brunch at Mandalay Café until it was sold to Maria Hines for Tilth. He moved to Elemental and worked at Tilikum Place Café, then spent two years at Solo. "It was a good chance to run my own menu."

While at Solo, he met Cody Morris who had started Epic Ales and wanted to find ways to sell more beer on the retail side. They decided to do a pop-up beer dinner and it went well. Travis went back to Alaska, then returned, and they did Saturday night two courses/two beers dinners from 2011-2012. During late 2012 and early 2013, they expanded the brewery to include a small kitchen, space for dining tables, a prep area, and moved the brewery operations down the hall in the same building.

In August 2015, they plan to open Mollusk, with the same feeling as Gastropod and Epic Ales, on a larger playing field: 5000 square feet, a seven-barrel system, and a larger kitchen.

Epic Ales and Gastropod
3201 1st Ave S, Ste 104
Seattle, WA 98134
206-351-3637
www.epicales.com

Mollusk
803 Dexter Ave N
True North apartment building
Seattle, WA 98109

April 2015


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