The first time we met David Blaine he was speaking on a panel of cooks at the Spokane Club during a day long Farmer Chef Connection hosted by Chefs Collaborative, Ecotrust, and WSDA. David was talking about his experiences as a chef at Latah Bistro. His ideas were well thought out and reflective of the values of quality, price and community. He was definitely a cook we wanted to get to know. Lucky for us he decided to attend one of our Farm Culinary workshops out of which has grown a friendship that spans work and play. Here are a few reflections on his experiences with Quillisascut Farm.
What was your motivation for attending the workshop?
Originally I was hoping to learn about more farmers who were interested in selling to restaurants in this area.
At what stage of your profession were you when you attended Q?
It was during my first year being a chef but my 16th year of working as a cook.
Fill us in on what you are working on now, or where you are working.
I am now in my first year as a chef owner. I opened Central Food in November of 2012.
Share some of your experiences since your visit to Quilli.
I have tried to keep trying new ideas. I have done a number of Pop-Up style food events that varied from burgers on a biking trail for 100 people to dinner for 6 people in the middle of farm field. I have also looked for ways to be more involved in the larger food community. I started a quarterly potluck under the name EatSpokane. I also have helped to bring Spokane area chefs together at Quillisascut every year in February for the last 6 years.
How did your week at Quillisascut help shape your career?
The unexpected benefit of attending the workshop was how much the people I met through the farm have remained part of my life for so many years. It is a big family.
What is happening in your life today that gets you excited or motivates you?
We have built a lot of freedom into our new restaurant concept. We created a kitchen that has the space and equipment that will allow us to avoid being limited in the future. I am excited to see what food ideas we can come up with.
Share with us the changes in your life related to a more sustainable future.
I never had a garden at home until I went to the workshop. Once I started gardening I had a big shift in how I thought about the ingredients I used because of the understanding of what it takes to get that food to me in the kitchen.
How did your experience at a Quillisascut workshop influence your life and/or career ?
After Quillisascut I have been focused on making community an everyday part of work. I am less focused on a plate of food. Instead I am thinking about the larger food culture and how we are changing as a restaurant, a city and a country.
You can learn more about David and Erica Blaine by checking out their new Spokane restaurant Central Food better yet go in and say hello, try out their menu, and enjoy the fabulous view. You will be glad you did!