Hangin’ with Tom Douglas at Bumbershoot

On Saturday, I had the good fortune to spend an hour chatting with Tom Douglas in front of a packed audience of 300 or so fans at Bumbershoot. I’m an unabashed Fan of Tom. He’s not only a superlative chef and businessman, but one of the genuinely sweetest, humble people that I’ve ever met. And he’s funny, too.

We talked about the pros and cons of culinary school, our favorite comfort foods and the virtue of roasted chickens in France. Tom believes that culinary school isn’t necessary (he’s living proof), and that, in general, he hires people for the kitchen based on a single reliable indicator — whether or not an individual has a pulse. (Staying in the kitchen is another thing, of course…) The Daily Blender did a good job of covering of what we discussed, and even has a couple of quick video clips, too.

But our main point of discussion focused on the Seattle Times food writing competition, “Food for Thought,” which Tom and I judged. The winner (below), generated some talk about our own school lunches, and first forays eating out. Tom used to go to a lunch counter on Sunday mornings when he was supposed to be at church, but instead told his parents that he was out on his paper route. He’d perch on the edge of the counter, watching the cooks prepare his lunch. It’s clearly a warm memory for him. “It’s one of the reason why I went into the food business.”

During the Q&A, a person from the audience asked about food experiences one shouldn’t miss in the Northwest. Off the top of my head, I could only think of a couple. Since then, I’ve come up with a more complete list:

… and I know there’s plenty more. Sigh. I love the Northwest.


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Filed under appearances and gigs, bumbershoot, cool food events, food writing, great meals, kitchen tips, Pike Place Market, Rants and raves, Seattle dining

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