Monday, September 21, 2015

Interview with Roy Breiman, Culinary Director at Cedarbook Lodge

The following interview was made possible by the NW Tastemaker, a culinary travel publication forthcoming from Northwest Travel Magazine. To read more interviews with the best chefs in the Pacific Northwest, visit Northwest Travel Magazine and TableTalkNorthwest.com.

Roy Breiman, Culinary Director of Copperleaf Restaurant at Cedarbook Lodge


Photo by Jeff Caven Photography 
After graduating from La Cordon Rouge Culinary School in Sausalito, California, Roy Breiman began his career as a chef working in four and five star restaurants in San Francisco and New York City. He went on to spend several years abroad in France, where he worked in multiple Michelin-starred restaurants. Upon returning to the United States, he took a job at Meadowood Napa Valley Resort, whose kitchen flourished under his direction.

In 2003, Chef Breiman came to Seattle, where he brought his talents to Salish Lodge & Spa before becoming Culinary Director of Copperleaf Restaurant at Cedarbrook Lodge. Known for his focus on sustainability, not only through food but also through affiliations with like-minded organizations, Breiman is at the forefront of the Northwest food movement. Working with small farms, ranchers, and fisherman, Breiman and his team are committed to bringing the total experience to each guest.

1. How do you describe Northwest cuisine?

One Word, “Authentic.” Our local cuisine is seasonally inspired and agriculturally driven. We are fortunate to have access to high-density agriculturally rich regions and microclimates, which include the waters of the Puget Sound the grain fields of the Palouse, as well as the pasture lands of Western Washington. When you make these extraordinary products available to talented chefs, you create a unique story centered on local cuisine that’s based on superior ingredients. In turn, this creates what I like to call “seasonally inspired regional cuisine.”

2. Who are six of your favorite purveyors, whether farms and ranches or hot-sauce, salt, or olive-oil producers?

All of these producers possess a passionate pursuit of excellence within their craft! We Love 'em all. They are like family to us.

Pleasant View Farm (Duck, Foie Gras)
Green Man Microgreens (Organic Micro Greens)
Golden Glen Creamery (Farm Butter)
Oxbow Farm (Organic Produce)
Willowood Farm (Organic Produce)
Richter Farms (Rhubarb and Berries)
Taylor Shellfish (Oysters, Clams, Mussels,)
Forged and Found Edibles (Wild Mushrooms, Huckleberries and Foraged Greens)

3. When you go out for a nice meal, what are two or three of your favorite spots?

Lark
Sitka and Spruce
Le Pichet
Café Juanita

4. Who are two other Northwest chefs that you admire?
Armandino Batali, Johnathan Sundstrom, and Holly Smith— They’re great human beings with great families, and they are fully committed to their craft and the success of their region. Also, they are full of inspiration and passion and are great mentors to a new generation of cooks.

5. In your opinion, is there an area of Northwest cooking that doesn't receive enough attention?

We do great with regional specialty products—i.e. seafood, shellfish, organic produce, specialty meats, cheeses and dairy—but not so well with “Direct to Market” artisanal products. Products that are focused on local and regional ingredients, such as jams, jellies, honeys, fruit-based products, grains etc. Unfortunately, driving public awareness is not as focused in this area, with prohibitive costs and a lack of professional kitchens to produce products commercially. Also, the competition to reach a larger market is intense. Regarding media, the bottom line is that these products are not sexy enough or captivating enough for their readers.

6. Looking toward the future, what about Northwest cuisine most excites you? What are you most excited to do in the kitchen?

I am excited to participate in the development and continued evolution of our local spirit. I am excited to see everything from the growth of modernist cuisine, to the continued growth and development of successful small farm agriculture in Washington State. Of course, I am also excited to continue to advocate for the protection of sustainable food systems within our region.

In terms of what I'm excited to do in the kitchen, the answer is "Everything." What we cook is a reflection of who we are—it is a reflection of our own personal growth as told in the story of our cuisine. We live life to the fullest, and along the way, we mature as human beings. As the seasons change, so do our perspectives. To have a platform to tell that story through the craft of cooking is a privilege, and I am humbled every time I have an opportunity to share that experience with others.

Cedarbrook Lodge
18525 36th Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98188
206.901.9268



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