THE LAST TIME Seattle Met published a food lover’s guide was in August 2007. Our hungry army of gastronomes, led by staff editor Laura Cassidy and Shauna James, better known for her Gluten-Free Girl blog and book, compiled an encyclopedic showcase of ingredients and products, advising when to eat them and where to find them. The meats and sweets, markets and farms, cheeses and breads, and year-round access to seasonal produce proclaimed our prominence as a leading city for regional bounty.

This time out, what’s fresh is not just the produce but the faces, and under the guidance of lifestyle editor Jessica Voelker, you’re about to meet the people who are setting the table for Seattle’s culinary future. Over in West Seattle, Hajime Sato’s 16-year-old restaurant Mashiko became the third fully sustainable sushi bar in the country. On the roof garden of Bastille, Shannon Galusha’s honeybees dive-bomb your ankles as you weave your way through the lettuces. Cheryl the Pig Lady helps local farms save money on processing so we can eat local meat and poultry for less. Chris Young, a UW math and biochem grad and passionate cook, coauthored an ambitious reference and recipe tome, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, due out later this year.

And here’s more to chew on: The people in the new food frontier foster community, among themselves and with all of us, through roving markets and specialty stores, classes, and sell-out dinners at shared tables. But nothing has brought food fans together like the Internet. Our town must have more food blogs (including Seattle Met ’s own food and drink blogs, Nosh Pit and Sauced) per capita than most anywhere. And since the advent of Twitter, Seattle food lovers maintain minute-by-minute contact. That’s why we provided Twitter handles for the food folks written about in this issue. They’re all chatting amongst themselves, and you can join the table talk, too.

One more thing. No food issue would be worth its salt without splendid photography. José Mandojana captured the essence of our culinary stars as they wielded their essential tools of the trade. And if you don’t get hungry looking at Erik Skaar’s mouthwatering photos of tomatoes, honey, and whoopie pies, then you must have just finished eating. Bon appetit!

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