jesse at taste prepping.JPG
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Jesse Dean spends at least a couple of hours prepping.
Life's pretty sweet for Taste line cook Jesse Dean, who plays


Taste's Line Cook A Little Punk, A Little Bit Bluegrass

jesse at taste prepping.JPG
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Jesse Dean spends at least a couple of hours prepping.
Life's pretty sweet for Taste line cook Jesse Dean, who plays in a punk band and a bluegrass band when he's not on the grill at the restaurant. Read part one to learn about how Dean got the beat.

SW: What's a typical day for you?

Dean: I usually come in around 2 and hang out, grab a bite to eat, walk around and talk with everybody, see what's going on in their lives. We're all friends here, we all hang out after work. Then I get started, put my head down, do prep for a couple of hours, get work done. I'm usually out of here about 11 or 12.

SW: So how long have you worked at Taste?

Dean: I started in kitchens at 14 and went to Edmonds Community College for the culinary program. Craig came into the school, looking for people. That was three years ago.

SW: When do you play?

Dean: There's a place up on Queen Anne called Jam Box; it's open 24 hours a day. You can go play music as loud as you want anytime of the day. When I get off work, about 11:30 or 12, I go there and jam until 2 or 3. Then, I play bluegrass in the morning.

SW: So, bluegrass for breakfast and punk for dessert?

Dean: Yeah, life's going pretty good for me right now.

SW: What's your big picture look like?

tuna melt at taste.JPG
Photo by Leslie Kelly
A Taste Tuna Melt.
Dean: It has always been my plan to become a chef and open my own place, but I go back and forth, because I see how much work it is and how much money it takes to keep a restaurant going. I'm not trying to take any shortcuts. I know I could probably get a job as a chef at a restaurant right now, but I'd rather be a cook at a great restaurant then a chef at a not-so-great restaurant.

SW: Are you learning new stuff all the time?

Dean: Oh yeah. Everyday, especially in the spring when we get stuff in I've never worked with or haven't worked with in a long time. In the fall, we don't have a huge selection to bring in because we really keep it local. I've learned to do a lot of different things with squash.

SW: What would your dream place look like?

Dean: I love restaurants in old houses like Emmer & Rye, where it's cozy and there are big tables and people come in and hang out together and talk about food. Well, they don't have to talk about food if they don't want to, but the place would center around really great food and wine.

SW: And great music, too, right?

Dean: Yeah, I think I might spend as much time writing the playlist as the menu. One of our waiters here does all of our playlists at the restaurant. He's got a great sense of what people want to hear while they're eating.

SW: Are there any punk songs about food?

Dean: I can't really think of any off the top of my head. Maybe I'll write one someday.

SW: What do you think about when you hear people talking about chefs as rock stars?

Dean: I'm not a fan of that. When I think of a rock star chef, I think of someone who is not pretentious, someone who is not on a reality TV show. I don't watch any of those shows, but I do watch "After Hours with Daniel Boulud." I'm so hooked on that right now. He gets together with a bunch of chefs. In a couple of shows, they go out bird hunting and come back and cook them. There's no drama at all. Yeah, there is drama in the kitchen, but kitchens are more laid back than you see on most reality shows.

Check back for part three of this week's Grillaxin, when Jesse Dean shares his recipe for a quick pasta dish sure to impress even a rock star chef.

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