Meet the class of 2016!

Chef Daeng    Racha Thai and Asian Kitchen
Tom Ka with Prawns: hot and sour soup with coconut milk, fresh oyster mushrooms, shallot, galangal, lime leaf, lemongrass, and cilantro

About: Chef Daeng was the executive chef at the Imperial Hotel in Bangkok and opened a series of Thai restaurants in France for them. She came to Seattle in April 2001 to become the executive chef for Thai Food International. She played an instrumental role in the opening of Aloha Plates, Thai Go Express, and Thai Go Dining franchise chains, in addition to the ongoing creation of Racha Thai's fine dining menus. She is now the executive chef for Racha Thai and Asian Kitchen.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Brian Carter Cellars' Oriana

Dan Ratigan    Fireside Restaurant, the Resort at Port Ludlow
Wild white shrimp risotto with crispy sage and brown butter

About: Originally from upstate New York, Chef Ratigan arrived in the Pacific Northwest at age 14 and worked his way up through many of Seattle's finest restaurants before taking the helm at The Fireside Restaurant at The Resort at Port Ludlow in 2007. Since then, Chef Dan has worked to create seasonal menus featuring Northwest gastronomy at its best. He has developed long-lasting relationships with a network of local chefs, restaurants, winemakers, artisans and farmers in an effort to support increased local purchasing and crop growth here in Washington.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with AntoLin Cellars' Riesling

Dylan Giordan    Piatti Seattle Italian Restaurant and Bar
Charred octopus with Sicilian eggplant caponata

About: Chef Dylan Giordan has traveled extensively, but always stays close to his Italian roots. Audio engineer turned chef, Giordan followed those roots to Serafina where he rose through the ranks to Executive Chef. In 2008, Giordan opened Cicchetti, Serafina’s sister restaurant, focusing on wood fired Mediterranean flavors. His talent for handmade Italian food can now be found at Piatti Ristorante, another longstanding Seattle institution, where the do-it-yourselfer features house made pastas, cured meats, cheeses, breads and vinegars. When he’s not at the stove, Chef Dylan can be found working on his farmette in Granite Falls where he tends chickens, ducks, turkeys and an extensive garden.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with a Torii Mor Pinot Noir

Harry Mills    Purple Café & Wine Bar
Lacinato Kale Pesto: garganelli (egg-based pasta), hazelnut breadcrums, pecorino romano, and lemon zest

About: Chef Mills graduated from the University of Washington, then began a career in the lobbying field. His love of food took over after a few years and he went to culinary school at the Art Institute of Seattle. He then became a chef instructor at the school. Harry joined Heavy Restaurant Group at Purple Café and Wine Bar in 2006. He was an integral part of Seattle's opening team, and was interim head chef before being promoted to Executive Chef of Heavy’s Bellevue restaurants including Purple Café, Lot No. 3 and Cast Iron Studios. In 2013, he returned to Purple Seattle as Executive Chef.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Arneis (Italian white grape)

Heong soon Park ("Park")    Chan and Bacco Café
Grilled Spanish octopus with heirloom bean and gochujang aioli (red chile powder, glutinous rice powder, powdered fermented soybeans, salt)

About: Born in South Korea, his family moved to Malaysia when he was three, staying for four years. Moving back to South Korea, he stayed through junior high. They moved to Switzerland, staying for three years. Back to South Korea for high school, then he attended the University of Alaska Anchorage's business school. Park's business school background has helped him run all his restaurants, but he was never a cook. After purchasing Bacco in 2008, he began attending the culinary program at the Art Institute of Seattle, working at Bacco during the day and attending school at night for two years. He realized what had to change and began using organic vegetables and eggs. He opened Chan (downstairs from Bacco) in 2012, then Tray in Fremont on November 1, 2014 (sold in 2016).

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with a Long Shadows 2014 Poet's Leap Riesling

Jeff Maxfield    SkyCity at the Needle
Frog Hollow Farms heirloom tomatoes, corn vinaigrette, crispy Beecher's cheese curds

About: Chef Maxfield grew up in Seattle and has an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science/Culinary Arts from South Seattle Community College. He began his career as a line cook at the Seattle Tennis Club. In Seattle, he worked at Canlis under Greg Atkinson, Chez Shea, and the Golf Club at Newcastle. He worked at The Five Palms Beach Grille in Kihei, Maui. Prior to coming to SkyCity, he worked with Southbridge Restaurant Group in Scottsdale, Arizona, opening the first of three full-service restaurants on the Scottsdale “waterfront” for entrepreneur Fred Unger.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Baer Winery's 2015 Shard

Josh Green    Salty's at Redondo Beach
Smoked Salmon Benedict: smoked salmon mousse, toasted English muffin, poached egg, hollandaise and dill gremolata

About: Josh grew up on Vashon Island where he honed his fishing, trolling, digging, diving, trapping, netting and foraging skills at an early age. He pairs a passion for local flavors and ingredients with culinary expertise. Josh attended Seattle Central Community College Culinary and Specialty Desserts and Breads Program, and began his culinary career in 2000 as the apprentice of Ludger Szmania at the famed Szmania's. He was formerly executive chef at Ballard Annex Oyster House, the country Italian restaurant Serafina, the Mediterranean Seattle restaurant Cicchetti, the historic Virginia Inn, and the iconic Ponti Seafood Grill. Josh took the reins at Salty's at Redondo Beach in late 2015.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with a 2015 Dowsett Family Rose (Oregon Pinot Noir grapes)

Kurt Goddard    Salty's on Alki
Local Berry Trifle: macerated assorted local berries, caramelized white chocolate cremeux, almond sponge cake, lemon verbena chantilly, brown sugar crumble

About: Born and raised in Traverse City, Michigan, Kurt had foodies for parents, and military cooks for grandparents. He is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, but much of his knowledge has come through self teaching. He has studied French, Swedish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Mexican pastries but his most memorable experience was Vanilla Mascarpone Tart by Pierre Herme in Paris. With a background that includes kitchens in Montana and Colorado, his urge to 'go west' brought him to Seattle. He has worked at the Pink Door, was a Managing Partner of Daily Dessert, and worked at Macrina Bakery. Kurt became the Executive Pastry Chef at Salty's on Alki in 2015.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Blends Inc. Renwood BBQ

Mark Bodinet    Copperleaf Restaurant at Cedarbrook Lodge
Caramelized Neah Bay halibut with sweet corn and heirloom tomato vinaigrette

About: Mark graduated in 2002 with honors from The Art Institute of Phoenix with an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts. He spent two years on Martha’s Vineyard at the Winnetu Inn & Resort, a boutique hotel where he assisted in developing the cutting edge seafood restaurant, Opus. In 2004, he returned to the West Coast to continue focusing on “slow food” and “farm to table” concepts. From 2004–2009, he created in the kitchen at the French Laundry Restaurant in Napa Valley. He is Executive Chef of Cedarbrook Lodge and in February of 2013, he was a National Semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year award.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with a Sparkman Cellars 2015 Birdie Dry Riesling

Michael Rogozinski    Rogo's Restaurant and Bar
Scallop ceviche crostini

About: Michael was born and raised in Guatemala, where his mother (from Seattle) met his father (German). He attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and has worked at the Four Seasons Inn on the Park in Houston, and Le Grenadin in Paris. In Seattle, he worked for Ludger Szmania, Ray’s, The Pink Door, Sheraton's Pike Street Café. He spent nine years as Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Services at Seattle’s Summit at First, a retirement residence. In April of 2014, Michael and Carolyn Rogozinski purchased Szmania's Restaurant from Ludger and Julie Szmania. Now it's Rogo's time!

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with a Dusted Valley 2015 Boomtown Pinot Gris

Nick Musser    icon Grill
Firecracker chicken bites with sage buttermilk ranch dressing

About: Chef Musser was born in Boise, Idaho, and educated at Boise State University, where he studied classical viola and conducting. While in college, he worked at the Rusty Pelican. He later worked at McCormick & Schmick's, then Yarrow Bay Grill, Beach Café, and Flying Fish. He was on the opening team for icon Grill in 1998. He is still there today and continues to play the viola.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with AntoLin Cellars' Malbec

Paolo Carey-DiGregorio    Salty's on Alki
Prawn Saltimbocca with forest mushroom risotto and oil-cured tomatoes

About: As a child, Chef Paolo lived in California, Japan and New York, then Seattle. His family opened several bakeries. As an adult, he made his way through many kitchens in Seattle. In 2004, he started his career at Salty's on Alki, moving from wood-oven cook, to sous chef, chef de cuisine and now executive chef.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with a Blends Inc. Tomero Malbec

Peter Levine    Columbia Hospitality Talaris Conference Center
Traditional hand-chopped beef and black truffle tartare with quail egg, served in a savory profiterole

About: Chef Levine attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and the Diablo Valley College Hotel and Restaurant School in Pleasant Hill, California. In San Francisco, he worked at Harry’s Bar and American Grill. On the East Coast, he worked at Twenty-One Federal Restaurant, and in Washington D.C,. he served as apprentice for the late Jean-Louis Palladin in the Watergate Hotel. In Seattle, he has worked at Trattoria Carmine, Isabella Ristorante, BluWater Bistro, Vivanda, and Mackay Restaurants Troiani and Waterfront Seafood Grill. He is now the chef for the Talaris Conference Center and Columbia Hospitality.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Dusted Valley's 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

Sam Crannell    LloydMartin
Lightly smoked pork belly presse with chestnut fondant, maple gastrique and apple salad

About: Chef/Owner Sam Crannell’s dream of opening a neighborhood restaurant came to fruition with LloydMartin, distinguishing itself through creative dishes, exotic game meats, and housemade ingredients that reflect the seasons. Sam started inventing dishes at the age of 13. He trained at The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago in 2002. After completion, Sam because a sous chef at Atlantique in Chicago from 2002-2003. From 2003-2009, he worked at several neighborhood spots in Seattle, including Quinn’s Pub, and as head chef at Oddfellows Café and Bar. He then became the opening executive chef at 5 Corner Market Bar and Kitchen in 2010. LloydMartin opened in October of 2011.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Hightower Cellars Red Mountain Merlot

Steven Ariel    TRACE, W Seattle
Scratch Thai green curry with crab wontons

About: Executive Chef Steven Ariel has traveled widely and worked within a broad array of cuisines, from Asian and Pacific Rim fusion, to Northern Italian and French. Born in Honolulu, Steven was raised on the Big Island (Hawaii) on a macadamia nut and coffee farm. He has studied at the University of Hawaii, the Thai Cooking School in Bangkok, Thailand and completed the introductory course from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Chef Ariel moved to Seattle in 2006 and became the Executive Sous Chef at Canlis. From 2009-2011, he worked as Sous Chef alongside Chef Holly Smith at Cafe Juanita. He then became Chef de Cuisine at LUC. He moved to the W Seattle in 2012.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Martedi Dry Riesling

Taylor Widrig    Swiftwater Cellars Hoist House
Diver sea scallops on a Calypso bean succotash, with pancetta, sweet corn, and beurre blanc

About: Born in North Bend, Taylor made his way to Cle Elum at an early age. Growing up in the Northwest and the foothills of the Cascades, he spent hours outdoors. Summers were spent mountain biking, fishing, playing football, and then as an after school job at the age of 14, cooking. By 18, he knew it would be his career. In 2005 he had a full-time job cooking at Suncadia in the INN, steps from where he currently is at Swiftwater Cellars. He then worked at Salish Lodge, where honed his skills. But his heart was in Cle Elum and he returned in 2011, moving into the kitchen at Swiftwater Cellars.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with a 2012 Swiftwater Cellars Pinot Noir

Thoa Nguyen    Chinoise Café, Wabi-Sabi, Sushi Chinoise
Vietnamese Shrimp Summer Rolls with satay peanut dipping sauce

About: During and after college in Denver (art/accounting), Thoa worked at restaurants. She moved to Seattle following one of her brothers. In 1991, she worked at Uwajimaya as manager of deli Asian Choice and stayed as more stores were added. In 1996, she opened Chinoise Café on top of Queen Anne (sold in 2015). In 1999, she opened Chinoise in Uwajimaya Seattle (sold); in 2000, Madison Valley (sold); in 2003, Wallingford (sold); in 2003, The Islander in downtown Seattle (closed in 2013). In 2009, she opened Wabi-Sabi Sushi Bar and Restaurant in Columbia City; in 2013, Chinoise Café in the Issaquah Highlands; in 2016, Sushi Chinoise at Beardslee Crossing. In January 2015, she "Beat Bobby Flay" with her version of Bibimbap, a Korean rice bowl dish.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Chateau Ste. Michele's Eroica Riesling

Thomas Kollasch    Collections Café at Chihuly Garden and Glass
Pistachio-crusted Anderson Ranch lamb loin, truffled carrot puree, beet root jam

About: Collections Café Executive Chef Thomas Kollasch has more than 25 years of experience in the food, beverage and hospitality industries. He washed dishes at hotels along the Sea-Tac strip as well as Rosellini’s 410 in Seattle, and was one of two high school students to receive a Chef Apprenticeship at the Governor’s Mansion in 1984. He has worked at 13 Coins; Carnation, Bear Creek, and White Horse golf clubs; Barking Frog; Alderbrook Resort; JUNO at the Arctic Club; Jimmy’s on First and on Broadway, as well as 9-0 in Eastgate for Silver Cloud. He took the helm at Collections Café in May 2014, located at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Collections Cafe offers artistically inspired dishes with ingredients sourced from artisans that call the great Pacific Northwest home.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Davenport Cellars' Syrah

Wayne Johnson    FareStart
Salmon cakes with remoulade sauce

About: A Kentucky native, Chef Johnson grew up as an “army brat” and traveled extensively. He began his culinary adventures in high school working as a dishwasher and prep cook, and continued cooking while studying accounting and business at the University of Northern Colorado. He has worked at the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel in San Francisco, the Marriott Hotels and Resorts in California and Colorado, and Andaluca and Oliver's Lounge at the Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle. In 2012, he became the executive chef at Ray's. In 2015, he was named Executive Chef for FareStart. Chef Wayne has earned many accolades, including being selected as a “Rising Star” by and Iron Chef America Season 9 Challenger.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with Ancestry Cellars' Chenin Blanc

Will Steinway    Café Lago
Café Lago classic meatballs

About: Chef Will started his culinary career in Florida at age 14. After college, his next step was pre-med, but he realized he liked restaurants. After moving to Seattle in 2004, he quickly found a job cooking at Café Lago where he was taught the beauty of simple Italian cuisine. Will is a skilled manager of staff, and is as technically adept at making fresh pasta as he is at fixing a broken hood vent.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with a Blends, Inc. Tomero Cabernet Sauvignon

Xinh Dwelley    Xinh's Clam & Oyster House
Curry with clams and prawns

About: Born in South Vietnam, Chef Dwelley worked for the US Army as a teenager, from brush clearing to working in the mess hall. Having never cooked before, she improvised with spices. Her kitchen became known as the "best mess in Vietnam." She married a G.I. and moved near Olympia where she sold egg rolls on Saturdays at the Farmers Market and got a job as an oyster shucker (she won the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship five times). Working for Taylor Shellfish, she shared her dream of opening her own restaurant. They helped her open Xinh's in Shelton in 1996.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with a 2013 Dowsett Family Celilo Vineyard Gewürztraminer

Zach Martinez    Sullivan's Steakhouse
Filet mignon with a bourbon peppercorn sauce

About: Born and raised in Colorado, Zach had no interest in the food business. That all changed when he got a call from his dad one day, who was a restaurant manager: "You're reporting for work tomorrow." Once he saw the chef in action, he was in love with kitchens. He's been cooking since he was 19. In 2009, he hired on with Del Frisco's Restaurant Group at the Denver's Sullivan's as a sous chef. He stayed four years. He moved to Denver's Double Eagle Steak House as the sous chef for one year. In July of 2013 he became the executive chef at Seattle's Sullivan's Steakhouse.

Wine Notes: Chef's dish to be paired with an Obelisco Estate Nefer II Cabernet

Although it rarely happens, chefs are subject to change.