by MK Scott
Seattle Cooks is an exciting collection of 80 signature dishes from 40 of the city’s best restaurants. Featuring crowd-pleasing small plates, vibrant salads, comforting mains, delectable desserts, and much more, this expansive cookbook highlights a vibrant culinary scene that makes Seattle one of the best food cities, including the chefs who populate it,
in the country.
Its author, Julien Perry, has been a food and lifestyle writer and editor for more than twenty years, having worked as a food editor for Seattle Weekly, Seattle Business Magazine, Eater Seattle, and Seattle Magazine. Her work has also been featured in Food & Wine and on the Food Network. An alumna of Seattle Art Institute’s baking and pastry program, she co-founded the One Night Only Project, a roving dinner series that partners with the city’s food and beverage powerhouses; and Chefodex, a chef-for hire service featuring a roster of Seattle’s foremost culinary talent.
MK Scott: What’s cooking, Julien? I just love that you have compiled a cookbook featuring some of the best chefs in Seattle. What inspired you?
Julien Perry: I was fortunate enough to be asked by the publishers, figure 1, to write the book. This “city cooks” anthology series is already popular in Canada. The first US book was released in Portland in 2017; Seattle is the second book, released in September 2018.
MKS: How long did you take to put this together?
JP: From the initial stage of lining up the chefs to signing off on the final layout, about a year! Who knew there was so much that went into publishing a book? Not only is there the obvious writing aspect, but there is also recipe testing, photo shoots, and marketing plans to consider.
MKS: What dishes are your favorites?
JP: They’re all my favorites!
MKS: Which chef surprised you the most?
JP: None of them surprised me, and I’d hate to call out a single chef, since I enjoyed working with all 40 of them, but in general, I was not expecting every single person featured in this book to be so easy to work with. It was a true joy.
MKS: Which restaurants are your favorite and why?
JP: From the book? I can’t say that! That’s like choosing your favorite kid! I live on Capitol Hill, so generally speaking, I tend to stay in my neighborhood. I am no stranger to Cook Weaver, Lionhead, and (even though neither a restaurant nor on Capitol Hill) Le Caviste.
MKS: The book also makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys cooking, but it also might inspire one to check out a restaurant.
JP: Yes! That’s the best possible by-product of this book: getting people inspired to visit their local restaurants and bars. And if they want a signed copy of Seattle Cooks, head to one of the restaurants that participated in the book! The stories from these chefs and bartenders are so inspiring on their own; I hope readers get an itch to see them in action.
MKS: In these tough times, what is the secret to a successful dining experience?
JP: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great dining experience. I truly believe it depends on who you’re with. An otherwise mediocre dining experience can be transcendent with great company. Just like how a value bottle of wine can be memorable if you share it with someone you adore. It’s all about focusing on the word “experience.” That includes way more than food.
MKS: Burning question: what one dish (from the book) is your guilty pleasure?
JP: I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I indulge whenever I feel like it—no guilt included.
Seattle Cooks by Julien Perry is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers.