This is the second installment of our interview with Zephyr Paquette, chef at Elliott Bay Café. (Part one: here.) Paquette runs this brick-walled basement café, which is under Tamara Murphy's stewardship, serving inspired, locally-sourced dishes. The menu features such items as smoked trout and eggs, Argentinian steak salad, and a farro salad topped with thin-sliced veggies, greens, and pepitas.
Photo by Nory Emori. Paquette at Smoke Farm during Burning Beast
Paquette:The one thing I remember is gingerbread. It was a gingerbread cake, and the person that made it did it in a crock pot. They had a special cake-baking pan, and it came out of crock pot. And apples. I used to fall asleep in apple tree, all the time. I have a bruise on my back from climbing an apple tree and falling out of it. I fell on a pile of apples, so I have a bone spur floating around. I love apples. MacIntosh apples, McIntosh are East Coast apples, and when they come out here at Cliffside Orchards, I always get way too many of them. They are only good for eating; you can't really cook with them. They're totally just juice, they're just juicy. You bite them and they have that pale green color to them. They're phenomenal.
You're making a pizza. What's on it?
Lamb that's curing in my basement, arugula if it's coming up in the ground, and Kurtwood Farms new cheese that he just slipped me pile of. It's the Daphne. It's a soft cow. It's super ripe, so it's kind of a Brie, it's all melty. Oh, plain, no tomato unless I am able to use tomatoes that we have at the house.
Where do you eat if you have just $5? Where do you go if you had $100?
If I have a hundred bucks I go to Tilth. I let them decide. My sweetheart said to me, 'Can we just go to Tilth sometime and just get duck burgers? I said, 'Okay, and dessert, right? And tuna.' So we ended up going in. Every single time we go in there it is just above and beyond. Special, and outstanding. It's the best.
Five bucks we go to Rancho Bravo taco truck in Wallingford on 45th. We get the quesadilla with beef in it and extra green sauce.
What's your after-work hangout?
If I can go to Sambar --but I can't afford it all the time-- I go there. If I can hang out on my back deck with the dog and the darling and a glass of wine, that's where I'm gonna be. Or the front yard with the strawberry patch. My house is the best place to be right now.
What would you like to see more of in Seattle from a culinary standpoint?
One of the projects I am trying to work on right now is a class here that will teach underprivileged kids how to cook from farmers markets. It's really important. There are a lot of things out there for kids right now. Government grants give all kinds of money to children. But these children are going home to their parents who don't know what they're doing. Remember going home with your algebra, asking how do I? And your parents are looking at it. It's the same kind of keeping up; we need to be able to keep up with our kids now. And the whole Edible Schoolyard; Alice Waters's program is phenomenal. And foster kids that are just getting kicked out on the streets don't know how to cook anything. Operation Frontline does a really great program, Share our Strength is a really great program, but then they need to work into what healthier, local food is. It's a huge program that needs to happen.
Check back tomorrow for Paquette's recipe for Bluebird Farms Farro Breakfast Risotto, a wholesome, rich, coconut-milk-soaked, whole-grain breakfast snack.