Congratulations to Maria Hines of Tilth for winning the James Beard award for Best Chef Northwest, announced just yesterday. You’ll recall that Maria was part of the amazing, collaborative dinner featuring all of the nominees. Her Skagit River Ranch pork cheek with trotter cake, charcroute, and parmesan broth was fabulous, and illustrative of her local, organic approach to cooking. Hines also won the Sustainability Award at StarChefs.com’s Rising Stars event earlier this year, where she prepared sous vide wild Alaskan halibut, cranberry beans, lacinato kale, and preserved lemon. In fact, I enjoyed taking a sous vide lesson she taught at Tilth – and can attest to the accolades she gets from diners who enjoy her creative and consciousness-raising cooking.
Meanwhile, Maria’s neighbors down the block are also getting their fair share of praise and prizes. Chefs Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi recently won Seattle Weekly’s Innovation Award, and Joule was named one of the country’s top 50 best new restaurants in the May issue of Travel + Leisure. And just today, Yang flew to Seoul as the special guest at the 7th Seoul International Tteok Fair, which celebrates rice cakes in Korean culture. She’ll be doing some cooking demos there, and if what she makes is anything like the rice cakes I ate at Joule recently (Korean mochi with oxtail ragout, nettles, and soy cured egg yok – pictured), those attending the fair will be producing good fare in their homes in no time.
Maria Hines’ photo courtesy of the James Beard Foundation.