And now we return to the Fremont Collective, where Renee Erickson’s new restaurant, The Whale Wins, is preparing to open alongside the new Joule location. Erickson and her staff start curing the newly installed wood-burning oven this weekend, and barring any major snafus, she says the restaurant should open in two to three weeks.
The focus on wood-fired plates, southern European and northern African influences, and abundance of vegetables remains true to Erickson and partner Jeremy Price's original vision. However Erickson says a few things did change stylistically in the dining room, and she loves the end result.
So, okay: This is one of the coolest new restaurants of the year. And The Walrus and the Carpenter continues to attract crowds and national acclaim. But don't go forgetting about Erickson's original restaurant. Marie Rutherford, the chef de cuisine at Boat Street, will move over to Whale Wins to run the kitchen. But I'm geeking out about her replacement's background.
Jay Guerrero came to Seattle from Prune, chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s restaurant in New York City. Hamilton won a James Beard award in 2011, but most food obsessives also know her by her hilarious/compelling memoir, Blood, Bones, and Butter. Erickson considers Hamilton a good friend, and says the chef sends her a note “when good people become available.”
Guerrero was known for having a way with the family meal in the Prune kitchen, and is a Seattle native who was looking to return home. He’s been at Boat Street for about two months now. We can't wait to see what a man who makes crave-worthy sandwiches out of oatmeal and peanut butter can do in our midst.