5 Minutes with Ethan Stowell of Staple & Fancy

The James Beard Foundation-nominated chef with 12 restaurants under his belt chats inspiration and the "vibrant" Seattle restaurant scene
April 7, 2014
by Leslie Kelly

Following this conversation with Renee Erickson of The Whale Wins, here's the second in our series of interviews with Seattle's 2014 James Beard nominees. 

With a dozen restaurants (How to Cook A Wolf, Anchovies & Olives, Bar Cotto, Staple & Fancy and more), a superstar consulting gig with the Seattle Mariners and a young son, Ethan Stowell is one busy chef. But that's the way he likes it. We recently squeezed onto his packed calendar to ask about his James Beard Foundation nomination, his sources of culinary inspiration and his go-to guilty pleasure.

How many times have you been nominated? 
A bunch of times. It's nice. It's actually better than winning the first time because it gets your name out there. I think Michael Tusk (Quince, San Francisco) won after his ninth nomination. That's awesome. 

Where do you find culinary inspiration these days?
I travel. I read. I go out to eat. [My wife and business partner] Angela and I spent a couple of weeks in Paris last year and that's when we got the idea for Red Cow, eating at restaurants like l'Entrecôte, which does nothing but steak frites. We wanted to mix things up and do something different. Americans are comfortable with steakhouses and Red Cow is a nice blend of a bistro with great charcuterie and a neighborhood steak place. 

What's the coolest thing you've learned lately?
It's been more about managing people. When you treat them with respect, that trickles down to the diners and everybody's happy. We're getting some really strong candidates for the back of the house lately. The Seattle market is very vibrant these days.

Where do you go out in the city when you want to celebrate?
We just had a really good meal at Poppy on Angela's birthday. I love Canlis and Shiro's. I let the chefs make me whatever they want. I trust them. Of the newer places, I like Roux and RockCreek is very solid. I like Miller's Guild

What about your favorite junk food?
I still like a Dick's Deluxe, but I'm too old to eat them after work. Or go out and drink after work. One thing I've learned since having a kid is that you can't be sleep-deprived and hungover. 

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