Of all the Northwest’s edible bounty here in what we’re calling the Flavor Issue, the one that sets off my most extreme salivary response has to be Riley Starks’s chickens. To recreate the sumptuous meat he remembers from his childhood in the Loire Valley, this renaissance farmer is raising breeds ignored by the Big Ag producers who favor fast-growing, giant-breasted, and let’s face it, forgettable-tasting birds. He is just one of the culinary game changers profiled in this issue, all of whom have found ways to perfect the flavors in our food and enhance our appreciation of them. There’s food geek Scott Heimendinger, who invented an affordable instrument for sous vide cooking at home. Or Taylor Hoang, whose culinary walking tours are demystifying the Asian produce found in the International District.
Well before the game-changer concept came into vogue, a young Francine Seders landed in Seattle and, by dint of her sharp eye, maternal charm, and love of art, became one of Seattle’s leading gallery owners with a stable of the Northwest’s most important artists. Her story appears in this issue as well and provides just one more example of the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that embodies the essence of Seattle. It’s a place where dreams can thrive.
To capture that essence is the aspiration of this magazine. Before Seattle Metropolitan launched in March 2006, the publisher Nicole Vogel told me something that has always informed my approach to telling stories about Seattle. That is, that a magazine has the ability to shape how its readers think and feel about the city. As such, every issue of Seattle Met makes an argument for the particular characteristics of the place where we live: Seattle is incomparably beautiful, more vital, more exciting, and offers more opportunities for adventures of all kinds than any other city you could imagine. And yes, if sometimes our idealized vision exceeds the realities, or if the city infrastructure lags behind the attractions that make us one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, we never stop dreaming. Every single issue, every profile or list of restaurants or tiny news item we have published in the last eight and a half years has been devoted to that notion.
If you detect an elegiac tone here, it’s because this will be my last issue as editor. As I escape to a life that’s free of deadlines, I’m turning the reins over to James Ross Gardner, a fine editor and writer and mentor who’s been at the magazine for all except a few early issues, and who is a perfect successor
to continue telling the stories of our uniquely vibrant city.
And before I sign off, I want to bid a special farewell to Ariana Dawes. Her name rarely appears as a byline, but as the first editorial hire for Seattle Met and as managing editor, she has been a treasured colleague and partner. If not for all the things she taught me, this magazine might never have made it to the printer and I might not ever have had one of the most rewarding relationships of my professional life. I’ll miss you, kiddo.