Seattle has claimed the 2012 James Beard Award for best chef in the Northwest thanks to Capitol Hill restaurant émigré Matt Dillon of Sitka & Spruce:
The Beard is a wonderful honor, he said, but “I’m just a representative of the city.” And he’s happy to see the validation for Seattle, after all the times he’s visited New York or Paris or other leading food meccas and thought what we had was every bit as stunning. “Seattle’s got it,” he said. And I’ll say it for him, so does he.
“I cook for the people that come into the restaurant…” he said. “I want people that are hungry to feel fed. That’s what it’s all about.” more…
In 2011, the award went to Andy Ricker of Portland’s Pok Pok. In 2010, Jason Wilson of E Madison’s Crush claimed the award for Seattle in 2010. Portland chefs claimed three of the five nominations in the category for the 2012 award.
The award comes as Dillon’s Sitka & Spruce completes its second year on Capitol Hill after moving from its Eastlake birthplace to become part of the Melrose Market. The 38-year-old also is a partner in the market’s wine and coffee cafe Bar Ferd’nand and Georgetown’s The Corson Building. Dillon told the Beard Foundation he would someday like to spend his days “hunting, shrimping, and starting a second career in social justice or ski patrol.”