A Seattle Star Chef's Radical New Project

By Ratha Tep Posted October 04, 2007

There are moments when I get pangs of envy when I talk to someone doing something radically, unexpectedly cool. The last time I felt this way was a few days ago, when I was on the phone with Matthew Dillon (an F&W Best New Chef 2007) of Seattle's Sitka & Spruce. Here, highlights of our conversation about his new project, the Corson Building, which he's opening later this fall with good friend Wylie Bush:

What exactly is the Corson Building? "We found this old two-story brick house in the really industrial Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. It was built around 1910 by an Italian immigrant who did a lot of ornamental statue work. So it looks like you're standing in Italy. But surrounding the house is a train track and a Boeing landing field."

Tell me all the things you'll be offering there. "A few nights a week we'll serve one seating of about 24 to 26 people with no menu. The rest of the time we'll have classes. It'll be like a community center that revolves around food. I'll teach people how to can vegetables or how to make cheese. We'll also connect people to farms. We'll teach them where to find good produce and help them find work on a small farm. We want to be very community and socially aware. We want to work with Seattle Youth Garden Works and Rise n' Shine (a charity that supports children affected by AIDS). And we might have a small B&B type thing for people to stay on the second floor."

Sounds like you're doing a lot. Anything else? "We’re putting in a greenhouse with raised beds. And we'll probably have chickens. And we'll have bees making honey. I'm an amateur bee keeper."

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