Kitchensurfing is coming to the Pacific Northwest. Today, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of Kitchensurfing Seattle, our sixth city. Seattle is one of the most exciting food cities in America, home to unique local ingredients, renowned restaurateurs like Tom Douglas, Ethan Stowell, the Canlis brothers, and bold culinary experiments like Modernist Cuisine.
It’s about a lot more than tossing fish or rugged, bearded chefs peddling backyard-smoked salmon. It’s a food culture that prioritizes simple, bold, and local flavors on the plate, and passionate, meticulous, daring chefs in the kitchen.
This is Seattle, and these are three reasons we’re thrilled to be here.
1. Thinking Local
Every tourist or food television enthusiast can tell you about Pike Place market, but that’s not the only place to get a taste of foods that are authentically Seattle.
The dominant flavors come naturally from the landscape: seafood, wild game, hearty vegetables, mushrooms, berries, hops and other forageables. The newer, perhaps more unusual flavors come from the people: cheese, beer, wine, and even sake.
When you eat in Seattle, chances are better than ever that what you’re eating is from Seattle. That’s the kind of locavorism that many great American food cities aspire to. Here, it comes naturally.
Seattleites care about the source of their food, and that interest extends to the chef who brings it (sometimes literally) from farm to table. We’re here to shorten the distance between you and your favorite chef.
2. The Value of Food Work
Seattle recently passed its new municipal minimum wage law, and the effects have been felt throughout the local food industry.
On the one hand, the law demonstrates that the community understands the value of the labor that goes into the food we eat, and, by extension how difficult — and crucial — food work is to the local economy. When we started Kitchensurfing, our mission was to give people unparalleled access to the food they love, while providing chefs an opportunity to earn fair compensation for their work. We’re enthusiastic about any community taking steps in that direction.
On the other hand, a $15 minimum wage makes it difficult for new food businesses to get off the ground, meaning young chef-entrepreneurs face yet another hurdle to sharing their food with the world.
For chefs, Kitchensurfing is a platform for building independent food businesses. We hope chefs who find themselves frustrated by the restaurant industry — whether as owners or line cooks — can use our platform to build their independent brands without the the margins, markups, and bottom lines that come with brick and mortar.
3. Tech Meets Food
Seattle has long been a hub of the technology industry, and we’re excited to bring Kitchensurfing to such a strong community of innovators and influencers.
Food is all about personal connections, and we view technology as a way to facilitate those experiences, and to make them a part of everyday life.
Our CEO and Co-Founder Chris Muscarella describes it this way:
My interest in technology was always about how to make it more human and use it to allow people to live the best lives they could. It was a similar set of desires that led me into the hospitality business—I’ve supported and helped open a few restaurants in Brooklyn, New York because I wanted to participate in the magic of making people happy every evening.
Food is the music of our generation. Dining has gone from a compulsory thing that was done en route to some other kind of entertainment (like a show) to the main event itself. This is a huge cultural shift that gets us back to the table as a primary source of joy and comfort. It is our goal to have more people feeling that joy—and to work with talented chefs and cooks to make it happen.
We’re absolutely thrilled with our first group of chefs in Seattle, and we can’t wait to start making great meals happen.
Hello, Seattle. Come see what Kitchensurfing is all about.
All photography by Catherine Abegg.