Culinary Impressions

Culinary Impressions

We moved from Seattle to Los Angeles and eventually settled in Redondo Beach where I went to high school. My life was devoted to the beach, art classes and my new first job working for a European caterer, a Danish Chef and mentor, Lisa Eriksen.  My neighbor, she asked me over the fence if I would serve appetizers at a cocktail party that evening and to show up in black pants and a white shirt. I loved everything about the work and realized hospitality came naturally for me.

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Origins of Passion

A meeting place, was my mothers kitchen. The first one I remember had red Formica counter tops and avocado appliances separated from the dining room with swinging saloon doors.  My mom was a dining room manager at the Polynesia Restaurant on pier 51 in Seattle in the late 60's. My childhood impressions are full of Seattle dining rooms and the life of the Pike Street Market.   We hiked the Farmer's Market and ate in hidden restaurants down alleyways and long staircases through Pioneer Square and up to China Town. We toured a noodle factory in the pouring rain and finished in a noodle cafe over steaming bowls of their finest.

My mom loved the rich Native Heritage of the Pacific Northwest introducing us to traditional foods and seasonal menus on every excursion and local "field trip".  Pancakes in Paradise on Mt. Rainier, the Salmon Bake on Blake Island, steamed clams sailing through the San Juan's and a Ladies High Tea in Victoria Canada at the Empress Hotel.  Every outing an adventure and every adventure, in some way, seemed to be connected to local food. 

I grew up just outside the City in an evolving farm town called Redmond, Washington.  With Girl Scouts, 4-H and adventurous parents I explored childhood from mountains to the sea, we skied and sailed every weekend fueling up at our favorite farm stands, diners and cafes.  Snapshots and deep impressions with every meal, along the way...   by Valerie Adair