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Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen

(article, Caroline Cummins)

The cover of his first cookbook shows it all: chef Tom Douglas, equipped with worker's pants, a stained sweatshirt (emblazoned with the name of his first Seattle restaurant, Dahlia Lounge), and one very big, very dead fish, all in front of the Seattle skyline. Did the burly guy just haul that fish from the waters of Elliott Bay behind him? No matter. Staged or not, Tom Douglas and his restaurant empire (he now owns five Seattle eateries, plus a bakery) are serious about local food.

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A Delaware native who absorbed the cooking of the mid-Atlantic (crab cakes, coconut cream pie) before landing in Seattle in 1978, Douglas quickly lapped up the ethnic variety and agricultural bounty of the Northwest. His restaurants and cookbooks (he's written two more since Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen came out in 2001) demonstrate his dedication to traditional cooking, be it Japanese bento boxes for lunch, slow-roasted Southern pork for dinner, or a mildly inventive fusion for dessert, such as Five-Spice Angel Food Cake. 

Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen may be Seattle-specific, but its straightforward explanations of basic kitchen techniques, equipment, and sourcing and using unusual ingredients should be in every cookbook.

p(bio). [caroline@culinate.com "Caroline Cummins"] is the managing editor of Culinate.


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