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Chef Tom Douglas -- A Chef or a Comedian?

By: Laura Sabo  Recently, I had the privilege of being in the audience where Chef Tom Douglas demonstrated his cooking — and humor — as part of Macy’s Culinary Council. Chef Tom is a well respected chef in the Seattle area owning Dahlia, Dahlia Bakery, Etta’s, Palace Kitchen, Lola and Serious Pie. He’s not talking apple or cherry pie, but pizza pie. I haven’t had the pleasure of trying Serious Pie yet, but the audience members that had were, shall I say, serious fans.

I don’t personally know Chef Douglas, but I immediately felt at home when he graciously agreed to a picture not only of him but insisted that I be in it as well. Although I should refer to him as Chef Douglas, I don’t think he would mind one iota being called Chef Tom instead. Something tells me, he’s been called far worse.

Chef Tom with Laura SaboMaybe you caught Chef Tom on the Food Network’s Iron Chef episode challenging world class chef Masaharu Morimoto. Chef Tom passed on a funny anecdote about his Iron Chef experience. He told his assistant that if the Food Network ever called to ask him to participate on Iron Chef, to tell them “no.” One day he answered the phone himself and when asked about Iron Chef, he said “sure.” When they asked if he would take on Chef Morimoto, he answered, “sure”, then they asked, “Are you sure?” Chef Tom’s cuisine reigned supreme that day with the surprise ingredient being salmon. I guess he was sure.

On the board of Macy’s Culinary Council with what Chef Tom described as “pretty boys and girls”, Tyler Florence, Cat Cora, Wolfgang Puck, Todd English and Rick Bayless, Chef Tom is more cute than pretty and definitely laid back. He loves eating in restaurants for inspiration, once a week in one of his and once a week elsewhere, and loves the feeling and energy of restaurants that give a sense of place and being. He’s not fond of the froufrou restaurants saying that they are “full of themselves”, lending to his down-to-earth style. Chef Tom demonstrated three recipes where the audience members were all given samples.

Besides his restaurants, Chef Tom has written 3 cookbooks: Tom Douglas’ Seattle, Tom’s Big Dinners and I Love Crab Cakes. The latter book I keep in my kitchen as a personal quest to somehow, someday make all 50 crab cake recipes. To add to his busy schedule, Chef Tom has foodie events like the recent Baconopolis where 10 different kinds of bacon were prepared 10 different ways. He said folks love to come there to “pig out.”

Could it possibly get any better than that? Actually, yes. This will be the 3rd year that he will be hosting the Tom Douglas Culinary Summer Camp. According to their website, “It’s like summer camp…with wine! Five glorious days of cooking demos by visiting chefs as well as by their own talented crew, field trips, culinary challenges, plus a boundless array of delicious bites, sips, tastes, meals and much, much more.”

As if this wasn’t enough, Chef Tom is the spokesperson for Columbia Crest Winery out of Paterson, Washington where his motto is, “eat local, drink local.”

He also sells a line of 12 spice rubs called Rub with Love, and in May, his products will begin selling on amazon.com where he says, “We’re gonna kick Martha’s butt”, referring to Ms. Stewart, of course. He also co-hosts a radio show on Saturdays from 4:00-7:00 pm. Listen or stream at KIRO.com.

Chef Tom also relayed an amusing incident when he was on the Emeril show. He said that he and Emeril were chatting it up so much before the show in the Green Room that when Emeril asked what he was going to cook on the show, he drew a blank and replied, “I have no idea.” As soon as he got on stage, what he planned all came back to him.

If ever given the chance to eat in one of Chef Tom’s establishments or see one of his demos, go for it. This man really knows how to cook and amuse at the same time.


Tom Douglas Summer Camp

(contact Robyn Wolfe at robyn@tomdouglas.com or (206) 448-2001

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