Critic's Notebook

Chef Changes at Mamnoon Signal “A Couple New Projects”

Melkonian moves into broader new role.

By Kathryn Robinson July 6, 2015

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Owners Racha and Wassef Haroun, with chef Garrett Melkonian

Image: Olivia Brent

Changes are afoot this month and beyond for Mamnoon, Seattle’s careful and distinctive destination restaurant celebrating the cuisines of Lebanon and Syria.

Opening exec chef Garrett Melkonian is leaving the kitchen’s day-to-day operations to assume a “creative culinary development” role. Into his shoes will step Jimi Treen, former exec sous, who has also worked at RN74, Dahlia Lounge, Matt’s in the Market, and Poppy. New exec sous is David Gurewitz, whose name you’ll recognize from Lark, Cascina Spinasse, and Little Uncle.

Why the change? Mamnoon owner Wassef Haroun: “We have a couple projects that we’re close to finalizing leases on, projects in Seattle, but our non-disclosure with our landlord prevents me from saying more. I can say they are imminent, and derivative of the kinds of things we’re doing at Mamnoon. One is very close to what we’re doing now, the other very different.”

Melkonian’s already wearing his new “creative culinary development” hat, immersing himself in the kind of culinary invention he and Mamnoon’s creative team engaged in to get that restaurant off the ground. “We need the kind of talent Garrett has to make these new projects happen,” says Haroun.

Watch this space in the next few months as details become available. But you have my permission to commence excitement immediately.

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