The Herbfarm Chef Strikes Out on His Own
Reading blogs like Eater, it seems that the typical chef lasts about, um, seven minutes at a restaurant before being let go or leaving to sign the lease on a new spot. Then there are the stalwarts, like Washington State's Jerry Traunfeld, called a genius by Seattle chef Matthew Dillon of Sitka & Spruce (an F&W Best New Chef 2007) in an upcoming interview in our July issue. Traunfeld is also one long-tenured genius: He's been the chef at The Herbfarm for 17 years, from its original days in a garage in rural Fall City, to an interim location in a barrel-aging room in Hedges Cellar in Issaquah, to its current spot, situated on two acres of Woodinville wine country. But catch him there while you can. Apparently he has plans to move again, this time, to his own restaurant in downtown Seattle in 2008. While he's not yet revealing the theme, he can say that it'll be à la carte (unlike his current nine-course tasting menus). Note to all those fickle chefs out there: The Herbfarm owners, Ron Zimmerman and Carrie Van Dyck, haven't found a replacement yet, so make your move.