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Celebrity Chefs - 2014

Jay Sardeson, Sheraton Seattle - Alum
Jay Sardeson’s culinary career started back in 1984 when he graduated from the culinary program at the South Seattle Community College. For the past 27 years, Jay's career has been with the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, where he is currently the Banquet Chef. Throughout the years Jay has donated his talent and expertise by serving on the Board of Directors of Food Lifeline and working with the Pike Market Food Bank. Each year during the holidays, Jay and his fellow chefs spend countless hours demonstrating their talents on the “Annual Gingerbread Village” at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, with proceeds supporting the local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

1400 6th Ave, Seattle
(206) 621-9000

Alvin Binuya, Ponti Seafood Grill - Alum
Executive Chef Alvin Binuya showcases his talent with an ever changing and seasonally focused menu. Chef Binuya has forged relationships with local farmers and fisherman so guests will continue to enjoy the new and unexpected flavors from the freshest local ingredients.  Ponti has received rave reviews from local and national press and honors such as Seattle Magazine's "Best Seafood Restaurant, "Best Northwest" and Gourmet Magazine's "Top Table". Since 1990, our wine list has received Wine Spectator awards of excellence every year.

3014 3rd Ave. N., Seattle

Bruce Cougan, Harry’s Chicken Joint - Alum
Bruce Cougan pursued a lifelong dream of owning and operating a small restaurant, when, in 2010, at the age of 57, he enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at South Seattle Community College. In 2012 he graduated with an degree in Catering and Banquet Operations and another in Restaurant and Food Production. He opened Harry’s Chicken Joint in 2013 and the restaurant has received rave reviews in The Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, The Stranger and was included in Seattle Met Magazine’s Top 50 Dishes of 2013.

6032 California Ave SW, Seattle
(206) 938-9000

Eric Floyd, Washington Athletic Club - Alum
Chef Eric Floyd was raised in Southern California where his propensity for food and cooking blossomed at a young age. Growing up in such a diverse melting pot, Eric Floyd was exposed to a variety of different ethnic cultures. It wasn’t long before he fused his American palate with others creating unique dishes. This love of cooking grew, and he inevitably took his first kitchen job at age 15.   Eric Floyd worked as sous chef with Chef Will McNamara for several years.  When Chef McNamara decided to join the South Seattle Community College Culinary Arts Program, Eric Floyd became the Executive Chef at the WAC. 

1325 6th Ave, Seattle
(206) 464-4626

Wayne Johnson, Ray’s Boathouse
Executive Chef, Wayne Johnson started out in the culinary business as a dishwasher and prep cook to save money for his first car. Since then he has been Executive Chef at Andaluca Restaurant and Olivers Lounge.  He also competed on season nine of Iron Chef America.  Today Chef Johnson is Executive Chef of Ray’s Boathouse where he especially enjoys the winter months there, as well as the Kasu.  When he’s not at Ray’s Chef Johnson is skiing, reading or bowling.

Ray’s Boathouse
6049 Seaview Ave. NW, Seattle

Brandon LaVielle (Alum) and Evan Garrard, Emerald Cove Catering
Chef Brandon LaVielle and Evan Garrard enjoy bringing events to life at Emeral Cove Catering!  Since 1999 Emerald Cove has been creating memorable events throughout the Seattle area.  Emerald Cove always has something fresh and new. Chef LaVielle and Chef Garrard, as well as all the staff at Emerald Cove take pride in their dishes as every componenet is compiled from scratch with the best local ingredients. Whether your event is for 15 or 5,000 people, Emerald Cove Catering will provide an unforgettable experience

17825 First Avenue S., Seattle
(206) 431-2683

Sarah Lorenzen, Andaluca
As a teenager, Chef Sarah moved to San Francisco when her mother went back to work. Sarah dove into cooking-for the entire family! To this day she still remembers all the birthday meal requests of her large family. Sarah’s culinary training had begun! It continued with a professional program at Santa Rosa College, while working as a prep cook at John Ash and Company. Soon after, Chef Sarah was one of only eight selected for the highly coveted Marc Hopkins Intercontinental three-year apprenticeship program based in San Francisco. Fresh out of the program she became a cook at Parc 55 Hotel. A year later she was recruited to join the Andaluca team as a lead cook and was quickly promoted to Sous Chef. She dabbled in catering and banquet management but was soon called back to the kitchen as Executive Chef of Andaluca.  When Chef Sarah isn’t working with her team at Andaluca, you can find her hanging out with her young daughter, Susie.

407 Olive Way, Seattle
(206) 382-6999

Jeff Maxfield, SkyCity at the Needle - Alum
This is Chef Jeff Maxfield’s fourth year at “Gifts from the Earth.” Jeff Maxfield graduated from South’s Culinary Arts Program, and now he is Executive Chef at the Space Needle’s SkyCity Restaurant.  He has a knack for bringing local flavors and ingredients together to make one-of-a-kind dishes. He uses local ingredients and prepares them simply!

400 Broad St., Seattle
(206) 905-2100

Will McNamara, South Seattle Community College
Chef McNamara is an Honors Graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York where he was awarded the McIlhenny Scholarship. Over the course of his long and varied career, he held positions such as Saucier of the Gold Room of the 5 star Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Corporate Executive Chef of Mitchelli Restaurant Group, Chef de Cuisine at Place Pigalle in Pike Place Market and most recently, Executive Chef of the prestigious Washington Athletic Club, the largest city athletic club in the United States. In addition, Chef McNamara resided in Tokyo for 1 ½ years from where he was able to visit several Asian countries, sample the authentic cuisine and attend cooking classes at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok. Numerous trips to Europe and South America, as well as travel and residence throughout North America have given him an excellent perspective of authentic regional cooking practices. The combination of varied culinary experiences and demonstrated success in the organization and management of high end volume production facilities give Chef McNamara much to share as a culinary educator.

6000 16th Ave SW, Seattle

Lenny Rede, Northwest Wine Academy
Chef Lenny Rede serves as a faculty member for South Seattle Community College’s Northwest Wine Academy, and he is also manager of Wine World.  Lenny Rede specializes in food and wine pairing.  The Northwest Wine Academy helps bridge the intricacies of food and wine, a one-of-a-kind concept in the area.

6000 16th Ave SW, Seattle
(206) 934-7942

Ivo Sandrea, Westin Bellevue
This is Chef Ivo Sandrea’s first year participating in Gifts from the Earth.  We are excited that he is here representing the Westin Bellevue, a long-time supporter of this great event.  Contact the Westin Bellevue website or facebook page for events.

600 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue
(425) 638-1000

Brian Scheehser, Trellis
From the fruit and vegetables harvested daily at Executive Chef Brian Scheehser's 10-acre farm in Woodinville, to hand-raised livestock and freshly-caught seafood just off the boat, your Kirkland farm to table restaurant dining experience will celebrate the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. At Trellis, Brian Scheehser melds modern cooking techniques and flavor profiles with the rustic, farm-fresh, robust cooking style that characterizes wine country restaurants. Rooted in the simplicity of country Italian and French cooking and influenced by his knowledge of cutting edge Northwest and West Coast cookery, Brian Scheehser's farm to table restaurant cuisine is a perfect match with the casual elegance of Trellis

Heathman Hotel
2200 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland
(425) 284-5900

Stacey Schwartz, Lancer Hospitality
Stacey Schwartz is a South Seattle Community College Hospitality Management program alumnus. She returned to school to earn her Bachelor of Hospitality Management degree after pursuing a culinary education and career.  Most recently, Stacey worked as a multi-unit general manager of Specialty's Café and Bakery and before that in the Edmonds Community College Culinary Arts department as an instructor.  She is now Executive Chef for Lancer Hospitality at Woodland Park Zoo.

(206) 548-2497

Craig Tarrant, Compass Group/Microsoft
Tarrant knew he wanted to be a culinarian from the moment he began watching food shows and cooking with his mother at the age of ten; so much so that he put his name on the waiting list for one of the top three culinary schools in the US when he was only a sophomore in high school.  For the past thirty years, his passion for food has continued to grow – especially around American classic comfort foods.  He loves using foods from his childhood to evoke nostalgia—traditional fare such as chili, roast turkey, mac & cheese and Creole and Cajun dishes—and to connect with customers.  He has helped to create many branded café concepts that utilize these comfort foods in new ways, including Branding Iron, Tacos from Around the World, Small Plates Tapas, and Mac & Cheesyology.  At the heart of his culinary philosophy is the emotional connection we all have with food. Every day he finds new, interesting ways to both tempt the palate and tug on the heart strings of customers.

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