Say What? Grillaxin's Top 11 Quotes of 2011

Josh Henderson
Unrest could easily be the word of the year as, like many of us, a handful of young taste-makers felt the urge in 2011 to shake things up a bit by leaving seemingly cushy gigs, or expanding existing empires, in order to pursue their dreams of creating their own joy and fulfillment. Often, the brutal honesty and refreshing spirit of these determined dynamos is an indication of their endeavor's future success. Passion and conviction usually equals prosperity, and isn't that what we always clink our champagne glasses to on New Year's Eve? "Cheers!" to letting your fervor shine in a big fiery ball of candor as we present, and appreciate, the Top 11 Grillaxin quotes of 2011.

Dana Tough and Brian McCraken
Dana Tough, The Coterie Room, on what he and business partner Brian McCraken have learned in the last three years:

"In the beginning, we were much more ego-driven. We look back at our early decisions and just laugh."

Charles Walpole, The Blind Pig Bistro, on his local culinary pet peeve:

"I think there's too much happy hour. It's a necessary evil. Everyone does it. All anyone reads in the Seattle Times food section is happy hour now. Everyone's looking for a deal."

Walt Wagner, Canlis, on whether or not there's anything he won't play:

"No, but I don't like New York, New York. And I don't like My Way. I like Frank Sinatra, but those are such sappy songs. I shouldn't say that because so many people love those songs, but they're not my favorites. The bartender, James MacWilliams, he always looks up at me when I play New York, New York because he knows how I feel about it. I'll play it, but I won't make a production out of it."

Robin Leventhal
Robin Leventhal, Chef at Large, on why she has no plans to ever resuscitate Crave:

"Still to this day, people beg me to reopen it. They miss it. And it's so endearing to me and a piece of me is like, 'I have the sign in my garage. Why don't I turn around and open it? I still have my business license. But the reality is I can't go back and do what I've already done."

Josh Henderson, Skillet, on what the last four years have been like for him:

"We learned not quickly enough that street food was never going to be the foundation of at least a financial empire -- it'll be the foundation of our business and the brand and who we are as DNA, but it's never going to take us to our Bacon Jammer yacht that we have planned."

Cameo McRoberts
Cameo McRoberts, Little Water Cantina (now at Vessel), on how she landed the job:

"I had a very informal interview and then [owner Shannon and I] went out and got drunk together. Half-way through my interview I said, 'How am I doing on my interview?' and he said, 'Well, you're doing fine. You have the job. We can get drunk together now.'"

Taylor Thornhill, MistralKitchen, on the chef myth he'd like to debunk:

"'You can't trust a skinny chef.' We just don't eat it if it's not good! Life is too short to eat bad food."

Josh Nebe, Marjorie (now at Blind Pig Bistro), on his cooking pet peeve:

"People cooking eggs on high piss me off like I can't even tell you. I'm one of the first people to be impatient. I hate waiting for things, but an egg should be cooked on the edge of a grill; it should take at least 15 minutes just to fry an egg. Fried, I guess, implies caramelization. There should be no caramelization. The bottom of the egg should be as white as purgatory."

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Sam Crannell
Sam Crannell, LloydMartin, on the role he played in the demise of 5 Corner Market:

"I couldn't find a way to get my shit together. As a chef, I partially feel responsible for their loss. As far as everything else, I don't know, man. Restaurants close, but the whole time I was there I never felt like I could get the ground underneath me."

Madeline Dow, Washington Wine Commission, on her biggest frustration as the Wine Commission's Marketing Director:

"Restaurants in our area that claim to be local but don't have any Washington wines on their menu. It drives me crazy. There are restaurants in Seattle that incorporate this local marketing platform -- all of their products come from within X amount of miles and 'Rah! Rah!' small farmers -- and their wine list is all imports."

Jessie Oleson, CakeSpy, on if she thinks cupcakes are going out of style:

"Cupcakes will be out of style when happiness is out of style."

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