Last week, restaurateurs (and husband and wife culinary power couple) Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi made a bummer announcement: They would be closing Trove at the end of June, though holding onto the space for popups, cooking classes, and private dinners. For much of its lifetime, their Capitol Hill restaurant was something of a choose-your-own-adventure food playground. One could grill their own tower of meat Korean barbecue style, belly up to the noodle bar, tuck into a side bar for cocktails and snacks, or grab the best parfait in Seattle whilst strolling down East Pike.
It's perhaps no wonder, then, that a place so much about the joy of making good, fun food also brought in chefs who loved making it.
When Trove opened back in 2014, Yang and Chirchi installed Mark Schroder, their then-sous at Revel, as the new chef de cuisine. Three years later Schroder opened a restaurant of his very own in Phinney Ridge. His Opus Co. remains one of my favorite restaurants—Schroder also brought with him another flavor mastermind from Trove, Paolo Campbell.
In 2016 we named former Trove chef de cuisine Kris Kim one of Seattle Met's Next Hot Chefs. Today, Kim cooks alongside Blaine Wetzel at Willows Inn, where some of the finest dining dwells on the tiny Lummi Island. Others, like sous chefs Justin Legaspi—now at Renee's Erickson's Frenchy steak house Bateau—and Ethan Leung of the newly minted Ben Paris, have perfected some culinary skills at Trove.
All this is to say, Trove—and, really, all of Yang and Chirchi's restaurants—do something really special. Absolutely, several talented chefs have sharpened their cookery game within those walls. But whenever I talk with a chef who's rolled through their kitchen, either for a brief stint or a long stretch, they muse about how their perspective on food changed—how chefs can redefine Asian American cuisines, that it doesn't have to be stuck in an authenticity box.
So as one restaurant closes, Trove alumni—thank the food gods—remain in our growing, dynamic dining scene.