Forrest Foster, Bon Vivant

A conversation with Altura waiter Forrest Foster

By Kirby Ellis September 3, 2013 Published in the September 2013 issue of Seattle Met

Plating an entree at Altura is a big deal. It’s about careful composition and color. It’s about expectation and surprise. Server and bar manager Forrest Foster mirrors those same concepts when suiting up for a Saturday-night shift at the critically acclaimed Italian nook on Broadway. But his best trick is making it all appear effortless. 


What are you wearing? 
The shirt is Marc Jacobs; I like that it’s somewhat sheer. The jeans are Acne, the shoes are vintage Italian, and my frames are Oliver Peoples. The 1960s Timex is my wardrobe staple. I keep it pretty relaxed when I’m not at the restaurant.


Fine dining uniform 
I take inspiration from the history of service and present myself in a timeless, classic manner. White shirts showcase confidence because any error you make is a stain on your body. I wear Nordstrom’s slim-fit style; a buttonup with a breast pocket means I always have my vintage Parker pen. Lately I’ve been wearing the J. Crew classic chinos, and I keep my hair gelled back so that nothing distracts me.


Dream table 
Actor and author Sterling Hayden, food writer (and my lifestyle icon) Jim Harrison, the hitman character Jef Costello—as played by Alain Delon—from the French film Le Samouraï, and musician Nick Cave. I’d serve them ’70s vintage Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva, which I imagine Sterling Hayden drinking within 30 minutes if he’s anything like his character from The Long Goodbye.


Timeless timepiece 
The Junghans collaboration with modernist artist Max Bill. It has an incredibly sleek and simple face. 


A modern gentleman’s referrals 
The best place for vintage shoes is Old Duffers Stuff in the arcade at Pike Place Market. For coffee I recommend Analog Coffee; for bars I like Hazlewood in Ballard, Canon and Montana on Capitol Hill, and Bar Ferd’nand in the Melrose Market.


Published: September 2013

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