He's hoping to bring back the magic. The 25-year-old, who instigated the carnival-themed menu at Unicorn has been called back to help inject the same culinary whimsy that made the Capitol Hill hangout so special when it first opened in 2010. Nebe, who went on to work at both Marjorie and Blind Pig Bistro, hasn't officially started back at Unicorn; he's using this time in the interim helping out on Matt Dillon's Vashon Island farm, and building a Storm Trooper costume one online-ordered panel at a time. That's our Nebe!
What have you been doing with your time off?
A lot of reading about cooking . I figured if I wasn't going to be in a kitchen for a while, I might as well study up on things and techniques that I want to learn about. I've spent a good deal of time working on my fitness and overall health; it was just time to take care of myself instead of abusing myself all the time. I thought about doing a bit of traveling, but never really got around to it.
Tell me about Matt Dillon's farm. What do you do there?
It's the happiest place on earth! It's awesome. Just a tiny little farm out on Vashon Island. I spend most of my time weeding and picking vegetables and getting them ready for the CSA. It's pretty great to hang out, listen to music and learn more about this whole other aspect of food.
Do you love it?
Oh, I totally love it! It's really meditative, standing in a field of berries, picking for hours on end. It's great just letting your mind wander or even trying to quiet it. You learn a lot, too. The guy who runs the program out there is super cool and incredibly knowledgeable on all aspects of farming and produce. Plus, I get to work on my tan, standing in the sun all day.
It's just like a giant model. You buy the cast pieces online and then glue them together. It's something I always wanted to do. It can also be really lucrative. I decided to try busking during PAX, a giant nerd convention that is held in Seattle every year, so I made a hobo version of an old suit that I had messed up. I ended up raking $500 in two four-hour days, with just a cardboard sign that said, "Deathstar blown up by teenagers. Need money for booze." It was great. I got to meet some interesting people and it's kinda fun to just be anonymous.
How big of a role does Star Wars play in your life?
I'm not gonna lie. It's a pretty big part. I'm pretty okay with it though.
Would you say you're a collector or just a fan?
A little of both. I don't have a huge collection or anything, but I do like having the memorabilia around.
What are you looking forward to most in 2013?
With any luck, the world not ending, continuing to cook, and trying to better myself is really all I'm thinking about these days.
Do you have a goal for yourself?
I'd really like to run a couple of 5ks, but I don't really like running. I think my main goal right now is 365 days of sobriety.
What's the one thing you're looking forward to resurrecting on the Unicorn menu?