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Oysters at Aqua.

A certain kind of food snob might suppose that only boutique restaurants pay attention to quality seasonal ingredients—a reasonable assumption given the number of big corporates that clearly are in it for the bottom line.

The local El Gaucho chain is launching a promotion to show: They’re not one of them.

A few months back the Seattle, Bellevue, Portland, and Tacoma El Gauchos, along with the company’s Seattle seafood restaurant Aqua, began featuring a supplier of the month, whose fresh food—oysters from Taylor Shellfish in March, say, or berries from Richter Farms in July—turned into two or three specials on the menu for the duration of the month. Recipes were chosen after pitting all six of the company’s top chefs against each other in a friendly competition, from which the best appetizer, main dish, side dish, salad, or dessert was selected for the menu.

September’s ingredient? Mushrooms from forager Mushroom Joe. October they’ll feature squash from Tonnemaker Farm; November black cod from Eydfinn Tausen of Olympic Seafoods; December pork from Niman Ranch.

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