Tilth, Golden Beetle & Agrodolce, Seattle, Washington
Winner of the 2009 James Beard Award for “Best Chef – Northwest”, Maria Hines has been turning heads since she took the helm at Earth & Ocean in 2003. In 2005, she was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs. She opened her own restaurant, Tilth, in September 2006 (Frank Bruni of the New York Times named it one of the country’s top 10 best new restaurants). In 2011, she opened Golden Beetle (Eastern Mediterranean cuisine), followed by Agrodolce (Southern Italian food). Most recently, she was inducted into the American Chef Corps by the US Department of State.
Q&A Maria Hines
Describe the Pacific: Wild seafood and specialty crops
What is your favouriteingredient to cook with? Seafood.
What is your favourite regional dish? Steamed spot prawn, mussels and clams.
What tasty bite should travellers to the Pacific not miss? Oysters, porcini mushrooms and raspberries.
What inspires you about your region? The sustainable like-mindedness and access to biodiversity and local foods.
What inspires you about your work? Being creative, building things, my staff, my farmers, the seasons, trying to execute everything at the highest level.
Where is your favourite city to eat in the US? New York City, New York.
Who/What inspired you to become a chef? I loved cooking at home as a kid. I loved being creative and working with my hands.
How are you inspired by your environment and the seasonal foods in the US? I used as much seasonal Northwest product as I can because it gives the diner a sense of place.
How has American culture shaped the way you cook? James Beard really gave validity to what American cuisine is. Applying European techniques with local ingredients is how I cook because that is our culture.
What international influences have inspired your cooking? I have an eastern Mediterranean restaurant and a Sicilian restaurant, so I'm very influenced by the Mediterranean. Tilth restaurant is New American.