With a population of 616,000, Seattle is the nation's 23rd largest city. Tucked inside the Olympic and Cascade mountains, Lake Washington and Puget Sound, Seattle's early growth was due to lumber, railroads and shipbuilding. Today, the city buzzes with live music, art and delicious, sustainable food. Local food is easy to find, thanks to Seattle's moist climate, waterfront location, and its numerous farmers markets. There are seven in all, two of which are open year-round. All of this makes culinary schools in Seattle an ideal choice for budding chefs seeking a city in touch with its natural side.
Widely known for its coffee and natural setting, the Seattle culinary scene sometimes takes new visitors by surprise. When Miami New Times writer Lee Klein traveled to Seattle, he wanted to see how the city's food measured up to his home city's. In the end, he declared Seattle the superior culinary town, noting, "Miami's gastronomic environment has come so far that it's easy to ignore its deficiencies. But a week in Seattle illuminates just how glaring those weaknesses are.".
As evidence, Klein detailed some of Seattle's food treasures, including the downtown waterside Pike Place Market and the numerous "affordable, affable, everyday eateries" that surround it, including Beecher's Handmade Cheese and Piroshky Piroshky. Although Pike Place is a busy tourist location, it is also a hot spot for locals, including Seattle chefs seeking fresh fish and produce for their evenings' menus. Salmon and halibut are market favorites, but local meat is just as easy to find.
Seattle is also a baker's haven, with artisan breads, scones and waffles a part of the city's food staples. There is history behind this, noted Knute Berger in Seattle Magazine. In 1962, Seattle hosted the Century 21 Exposition, which gave the city its Space Needle and other notable buildings but also helped categorize Seattle as a true culinary town. As Berger pointed out, Century 21 "was about science, but what folks remembered was the food," including Belgian waffles, which were first introduced at that fair.
As CBS Seattle pointed out, "Locals consider Seattle to be a food-loving city that prides itself on having some of the best and freshest ingredients available at its fingertips ... Fortunately, it also has plenty of outstanding chefs. ..." One of the Seattle area's bests is Brendan McGill, who was named the 2013 People's Best New Chef in the Food & Wine magazine contest. His Hitchcock restaurant on Bainbridge Island serves a much-celebrated duck breast, among other delicacies. Also in 2013, numerous other Seattle chefs made the James Beard finalist list in several categories.
Seattle has experienced steady growth over the past 20 years: 9 percent in the 1990s and 8 percent between 2000 and 2010. King County, as a whole, is projected to experience continued growth, which means additional food establishments are lingering on the horizon. This is great news for students attending culinary schools in Seattle.
As the city's website notes, "Seattle has always exhibited a spirit of optimism, enterprise, and self-promotion." This spirit can be witnessed at the city's food establishments and markets, as well as in the waterfalls and hanging gardens that adorn its highways.
"Best Chefs Heating Up The Culinary Scene in Seattle," CBS Seattle, August 8, 2012, http://seattle.cbslocal.com/top-lists/best-chefs-heating-up-the-culinary-scene-in-seattle/
"Brief History of Seattle," Seattle.gov, 2007, https://www.seattle.gov/cityarchives/Facts/history.htm/
"Miami vs. Seattle Food Scenes: The Magic City Falls Short," Miami New Times, Lee Klein, June 7, 2012, http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2012-06-07/restaurants/miami-vs-seattle-food-scenes-the-magic-city-falls-short/
"The History Behind Seattle's Food Obsession," Seattle Magazine, Knute Berger, April 2012, http://www.seattlemag.com/article/history-behind-seattle-s-food-obsession
"The Seattle Area's Slew of James Beard Award Nominees, Plus a Top Newbie," The Sun Break, Jay Friedman, March 21, 2013, http://thesunbreak.com/2013/03/21/the-seattle-areas-slew-of-james-beard-award-nominees-plus-a-top-newbie/
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