Dave Lamping credits his passion for cooking to holiday baking with his family on Bainbridge Island. Good times spent in his home kitchen inspired him to take his first restaurant job at 15 bussing tables, eventually working up the ladder as a cook and later attending culinary school in New York City. Now, Lamping is helping to open apothecary-styled bar Percy's, where he is planning a bar menu that keeps pace with all the fresh, seasonal fruits and herbs that will go into the drinks.
After stints as sous chef for Restaurant Zoë, Bastille, and Re:Public and chef at Smith, Lamping says his cooking style has transformed to focus on seasonal ingredients. "I like to let simple food speak for itself," he says. "You really elevate a dish when you choose food picked at the peak of its season."
When Percy's opens later this month, Lamping says he's particularly excited to use fresh fish like halibut, salmon, and albacore. And in the winter he anticipates using squash, beets, and brussel sprouts to create warm and spice-flavored dishes.
Here, a few of Dave Lamping's favorite things:
Dish to make at home: Spaghetti bolognese. It’s all about the sauce. I love to cook low and slow.
Favorite way to relax: At my parents' beach house on Bainbridge Island—we love to barbecue and enjoy some good wines while watching the sunset.
Biggest restaurant pet peeve: Diners that insist on modifying the menu. We’ve taken great care to make tasty dishes, so relax and trust the menu.
Item that will definitely be on the menu at Percy’s: Manila clams with housemade bacon, crispy fingerlings, and green chile broth.
Secret ingredient: Dried habanero chile flakes. A little goes a long, long way.
Summer ingredient to work with: Pence peaches—they’re so versatile and tasty. You can go sweet or savory.
Pairing food with apothecary-styled cocktails is… Exciting. I enjoy cooking light and healthy. The possibilities are endless.
First thing ever cooked: Unbaked oatmeal cookies. While I was growing up, my family made A LOT of cookies for the holidays.
Most memorable kitchen disaster: Having to work the day after I broke my collarbone. I had my arm in a sling and was cooking with (basically) one hand. Not fun.
Most underrated place to eat or drink in Seattle: Oliver’s Twist on Phinney Ridge. Great cocktails, creative food, and awesome music.
Dish you wish you could make more of: Tripe with tomato, chile, and garlic. I would love to put this dish on the menu but I know it would be a tough sell.
Guilty pleasure: Boxed macaroni and cheese.
Three things on your home kitchen counter right now: A box of Black Box Malbec wine, garlic, and Tapatio Hot Sauce.
Cookbook: Mexico One Plate At A Time by Rick Bayless. My fiancé loves Mexican food.
If you weren’t a chef, you would be: A New York City cab driver. I’ve been told I drive aggressively.