Michael Gifford Takes Over at How to Cook a Wolf
Ethan Stowell brought back his former Union sous to open Ballard Pizza Company. Now you'll find him up the hill.
Ethan Stowell says he's confident the rotating chef issue at How to Cook a Wolf has come to an end. After a few short-lived predecessors, Michael Gifford has been running the show at the Queen Anne restaurant since August. Gifford goes way back with Stowell; he opened Union as a sous chef, then went on to work in Portland and back on the East Coast (he’s a south Jersey native).
Over the years, Stowell kept in touch, and finally lured Gifford back to open Ballard Pizza Company in April. After an eight-year hiatus, Gifford found the Stowell realm had morphed into a proper (and diversified) company. And when Jake Martin left How to Cook a Wolf to return to Portland, Stowell asked Gifford if he was ready for a move up the hill to Queen Anne.
While Ballard Pizza Company serves more families, How to Cook a Wolf has plenty of regulars who live nearby, and Gifford has been busy learning the rhythms and tastes of the neighborhood. One dish he's particularly proud of--a recent yeasted polenta fritter. "Think of it as a doughnut," he says. Adding dissolved yeast to the batter means a puffy, crisper fry.
“Ethan has a great formula,” Gifford says. “We’re not doing bizarre food.”
So far Gifford’s boss hasn’t exactly been breathing down his neck. Stowell came in for the restaurant’s five-year anniversary last week, says Gifford. “Other than that, he came in here once, and I take that as a compliment.”