Part two of our interview with Spinasse chef and karaoke enthusiast Jason Stratton. You can read part one here . Check back tomorrow for more


Grillaxin' with Jason Stratton, Part Two

Part two of our interview with Spinasse chef and karaoke enthusiast Jason Stratton. You can read part one here. Check back tomorrow for more Stratton action.

Yesterday, you mentioned the importance of history, of understanding how certain dishes became what we still eat today. Though preserving isn't as vital to our survival anymore, what do you make of the growing popularity and movement back to canning and jarring?

I think there's almost something like an anti-nostalgic backlash going on. If you look at back at the 1950s and 1960s, ready made food was all the rage: pop something out of a can and bake it off, and that was high luxury living. That took over the this traditional, meticulous and wonderful process. Cooking and preserving became kind of passe, boring, and non-glamorous.

But now people who are into food don't want something that takes two minutes, they want to feel the process. That's what's cool about the shift back. A lot of younger people are going back, wanting to understand what cooking really is. Now you can have a kitchen project, create a product, and have a symbol of your work. You can have a dinner party, and it can be great, but it's temporary. But if you put up your own tomato paste, you have that throughout the year. And every time you reach for it, you think, "I made this with my hands."

Where in town would you eat if you had just $5? Where would you eat if you had $100?

A couple oysters from Nick Castleberry at the Summit (now on hiatus until spring) to keep it all in the hood and get a taste that pops. Or more likely a bag of cheeseburgers from Dick's to share with the kitchen crew during Monday morning, trying to shake off the spectre of karaoke at the Crescent Lounge the night before.

For 100 bucks, definitely Monsoon. I love Eric Banh's food and I get grumpy if I go without spicy pork ribs and a bottle of Riesling for too long.

Let's go back to karaoke for a moment. Spinasse just had their staff party, which involved dinner at Joule, then Bush Gardens for karaoke. How was it?

It was awesome. Joule just destroyed it. It was a nice chance for us to look back on the year, give ourselves a pat on the back. And it goes a long way towards keeping us motivated and working well as a team.

Is karaoke singing required?

Well, I always try to get people who wouldn't normally sing to sing. I'm somewhat notorious for karaoke. We usually go to the Crescent or Bush Gardens, depending on how we're feeling. Bush Garden if we're mellow, Crescent if we're feeling a little rowdy. I'm known for my Missy Elliott. I always do "Work It," because that's what most places have. But I also do "Pass that Dutch."

Favorite Seattle restaurant (besides your own)?

I have to say Sitka and Spruce. I love Matt Dillon and Matt Dann and Michael Saunders and Emily Crawford and everyone associated with the place and most especially the food they serve. Dish after dish just quietly stun you. I love the wine list. I love the green walls. I will miss its presence on Eastlake, but excited for it to be closer to me. Look for me there, often.

What would you like to see more of in Seattle from a culinary standpoint?

I'd like to see more personalized wine lists. I think Seattle has a great diversity in terms of food, but I wish that wine lists weren't so generic. I understand the need to make a list that appeals to a broad range of tastes, but that doesn't mean that it can't be a personal expression of what you think goes best with the food you serve, or the wines that you truly love. Angela Stowell's list at Anchovies & Olives makes my heart swell up. Renee's list at Boat Street makes me smile broadly. You know you can count on really any of those wines. Someone believes in them and knowing that really makes you feel at home.

Anything you'd like to see less of in Seattle?

I would say I could do without the feeling of smugness and superiority you get from a lot of industry people and "foodies" and the "twitterati" about where to get the best banh mi or martini or why Establishment X is awful or really just not worth a second visit. But for whatever reason, I feel like a lot of that is vanishing quickly. The community seems to really be coming together and very supportive of each other right now. It's an awesome feeling to be caught up in.

comments powered by Disqus