Bad news for Tacoma, good news for Aaron Valimont, executive chef for Pacific Grill.
I got an e-mail from him this morning saying that he has given his notice at Pacific Grill and is leaving to become the executive chef of Seattle's Oceanaire, a high concept seafood restaurant owned by a Minneapolis corporation.
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I have turned in my notice at PG and have just finished the interview process with Oceanaire in Seattle. I will be Oceanaire's new Executive Chef for their Seattle location. This is a huge opportunity for me in the culinary industry. I will be following in the steps of Kevin Davis, Eric Donnelly and Bravo's own Top Chef- Brian Malarkey...
What a roster of chefs to follow. Kevin Davis has been such an important chef on the Seattle food scene. Previous to Oceanaire, he was executive chef at Seattle's Sazerac in Hotel Monaco (and he now runs Steelhead Diner). When I was a food writer at my last job, I spent an afternoon cooking gumbo with him. He was such a gracious teacher, he taught me how to concoct homemade hot sauce, mustard and dared me to eat a firey ceviche that made me choke (I never turn down a food dare). He has such an interesting culinary background (from cajun to seafood, he has cooked everything). Of course, Brian Malarkey and Eric Donnelly have their own impressive resumes. And now Valimont is up there with them. Kudos to him.
This is great news for Valimont. And, again, terrible news for the Tacoma restaurant landscape.
I've asked Pacific Grill owner Gordon Naccarato if he has any candidates yet for executive chef. I'll keep you posted.