The GSBA Blog

EQUALUX: Meet Our Celebrity Chefs

by Jason Dittmer, Director of Marketing & Communications
| Nov 09, 2017


ELIZ_ SHEENASheena Eliz, Anar and Mbar
Sheena is a Washington state native with a deep appreciation for plants and herbs and a love of nature and working with local and indigenous ingredients. She recently joined the Mamnoon restaurant group, making healthy, Middle Eastern-inspired food. “I enjoy nourishing and connecting with people through shared meals, and I hope to continuously provide intimate and memorable experiences through food and beverage.”

Nakajima_ Shota

Shota Nakajima
, Adana
Chef Shota began his culinary journey at the age of sixteen, working for an acclaimed sushi restaurant in his hometown of Seattle. At the age of eighteen, Nakajima moved to Osaka, Japan to learn about the art of Japanese cuisine. While there, Nakajima had the opportunity to work for Michelin Star-rated Chef Yasuhiko Sakamoto. As one would expect, this experience changed Chef Shota’s perspective on cooking. Since returning to Seattle, it has been Nakajima’s dream to convey Chef Sakamoto’s approach to hospitality and Japanese cuisine in the United States.


Murphy_TamaraTamara Murphy, Terra Plata, James Beard Award 
In 2009, the Seattle PI named Chef Tamara Murphy one of five entertainment and culture icons to watch, and cited that she “… has been a Seattle cooking star for nearly two decades, but now she's moving beyond traditional restaurants into wild and vibrant collaborations.” This much honored and always inventive James Beard award-winner, and one of Food & Wine’s picks for Ten Best New Chefs in America, is doing just that as a restaurant owner and as author of TENDER: farmers, cooks, eaters. A force in the national culinary community, regionally, she has created events such as An Incredible Feast –The Good Farmer Fund and Burning Beast. In 2012, she opened Terra Plata on Capitol Hill to widespread acclaim.


Mackie_ LeslieLeslie Mackie, Macrina Bakery & Cafe
Leslie picked up her kitchen skills at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, but baking was her true love. She was soon creating pastry for acclaimed chefs Lydia Shire and Susan Regis at Biba in Boston. While working as a restaurant consultant in Los Angeles, she found herself more and more interested in bread, drawn by the combination of science and intuition required when baking. She was among the first wave of Americans experimenting with recipes from European master bakers and a long, slow fermentation process. Mackie re-discovered the craft's traditional, almost spiritual importance.

Leslie was head baker at Seattle's Grand Central Bakery, then in 1993 she opened her own place, Macrina. Leslie's recipes reach well beyond Seattle, from her appearances on Julia Child's "Baking with Julia" television series to features on many Food Network shows. Leslie received a 1999 outstanding contributor award and several nominations for the Outstanding Pastry Chef Award from the James Beard Foundation. Leslie has written two cookbooks: Macrina Bakery & Café Cookbook and More from Macrina. She is an active member in Les Dames d'Escoffier and currently serves on the board of the Bread Bakers Guild of America.


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