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Plenty of Cooks in the Kitchen at Gig Harbor’s Wine & Food Festival!

Gig Harbor, WA – A popular feature at the Gig Harbor Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting Event each year are the cooking activities offered on the Main Stage in the Chef’s Tent. This year there will be plenty of cooks in the kitchen! Eight of the best Chef’s the Pacific Northwest has to offer will be involved in the two “mystery ingredient” cook-off competitions moderated by the Chef in the Hat, Thierry Rautureau from the Seattle Kitchen Show. Chef/Owner of Luc and Loulay Kitchen & Bar in Seattle (the Seattle Met Restaurant of the Year 2014), his culinary knowledge, combined with his enjoyable sense of humor, will make for an entertaining afternoon. If you are a foodie who loves cooking, wants to learn about food, or just wants to be entertained, this will be the place to be! The festival will be held on Saturday, July 29th from 12pm – 4:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at

Competing in the cook-off competition will be well known Seattle restaurateur, Chef Ethan Stowell. Ethan is the Executive Chef and Owner of Ethan Stowell Restaurants in Seattle. His highly-acclaimed restaurants include Tavolàta, How to Cook a Wolf, Anchovies & Olives, Staple & Fancy Mercantile, Ballard Pizza Company, Rione Xlll, Bar Cotto, Mkt., Red Cow, Frēlard Pizza Company, Bramling Cross, Marine Hardware, Tavolàta Capitol Hill, and Ballard Pizza Company SLU, as well as Goldfinch Tavern in the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle. His food philosophy is all about keeping it simple, using fresh ingredients, and allowing the food to do the talking. In 2010, Stowell began consulting for the Seattle Mariners. His work with the Mariners helps to bring local products into the stadium for fans to enjoy. Stowell was named one of the Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine in 2008 and chosen as a Best New Chef All-Stars in 2013. Joining Chef Stowell in the competition will be Chef Derek Bray of The Table in Tacoma, Chef Chris Nau from the Boat Shed in Bremerton, and the popular “Kitchen Beautician” Aura Mae, owner of Azarra Salon & Wine in Tacoma.

Passionate about building community and creating a space for people to gather, Chef Derek Bray opened The Table in July of 2015 and serves upscale seasonal northwest cuisine. The main focal point of the restaurant is a 22-foot-long community table. Derek has worked in several restaurants in the Tacoma area including Adriatic Grill and Stanley & Seaforts.

Chef Chris Nau serves as Executive Chef at Manette’s venerable Boat Shed Restaurant. He recently made a splash at the 2016 World Chef Challenge, taking first place in the international division and finishing second overall. A 2007 graduate of South Kitsap High School, Nau grew up with Mexican and Spanish culinary influences at home and honed his skills at a number of restaurants, including the high-end Bay Street Bistro, where he reveled in creating four-course, internationally-themed Sunday dinners.

Aura Mae is the owner of Azarra Salon & Wine in Tacoma where she has been creating beautiful hair since 1991. She turned her focus to creating beautiful food a dozen years ago when she moved into a house with an expansive kitchen that just cried out for culinary creativity. Motivated by the need to help control her husband's diabetes, Aura cleared out the pantry of packaged foods and worked on learning how to cook delicious food from scratch. She learned from TV chefs, cooking blogs, family recipes and fearless experimentation. Through her social media presence as “Your Kitchen Beautician,” she helps people create their most beautiful lives and has become the person to turn to for cooking advice and inspiration.

Judging the cook-offs will be last year’s cook-off competition champion, Chef Roy Breiman. Chef Breiman is a graduate of La Cordon Rouge Culinary School in Sausalito, California. He began his career in four and five-star restaurants in San Francisco and New York City. Breiman serves as Corporate Culinary Director of Seattle’s Coastal Hotel Group where he oversees operations of five independent hotels whose food and beverage programs have garnered national recognition. Within just a short time, Copperleaf Restaurant at Cedarbrook Lodge was named by Gayot and Seattle Magazine as the Best New Seattle Restaurant to open in 2011. Joining Chef Breiman on the judging panel will be food critic Cynthia Nims, Chef Deanna Harris-Bender, and wine expert Daniel Jackson.

Cynthia Nims, who holds the Grand Diplome d'Etudes Culinaires from La Varenne cooking school in France, is the author of 12 cookbooks including "Northwest Best Places Cookbook" and "Oysters: Recipes that bring home a Taste of the Sea." She is part of the team that authored "Modernist Cuisine, The Art and Science of Cooking". Her blog, Mon Appétit, can be found at

Deanna Harris-Bender is the Owner and Chef at Tacoma’s Over the Moon Cafe, serving bistro type cuisine with Northwest flavors and European influences. Over the Moon Café is located in Opera Alley, the heart of the Theatre District in downtown Tacoma.

Daniel Jackson has 25 years’ restaurant experience including Triples on Lake Union, Fullers at the Sheraton and Gig Harbor’s Brix 25. Mr. Jackson created the double album wine list for Brix 25 that won them Restaurant of the Year by the Washington Wine Commission. Daniel has taught classes teaching the Riedel wine glassware philosophy, or need for specialized glasses for specific varietals.

The Chef’s Tent Main Stage is sponsored by the Olympic Property Group. In addition to the Chef’s Tent activities, wine & food enthusiasts will enjoy a selection of nine educational workshops, an on-site retail store, and the opportunity to sample the best of what more than 50 regional restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries have to offer.

The Gig Harbor Wine & Food Festival, presented by the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance and the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor, was recognized with the 2011 Outstanding Achievement in Promotion Award, given by the Washington State Main Street Program as part of their Excellence on Main Awards. Proceeds from this annual event helps fund the Gig Harbor Cushman Connection Trail Project and other projects and causes in the downtown waterfront area.

For the latest details on the Gig Harbor Wine and Food Festival, visit or contact the Alliance office at 253.514.0071.


The Mission of the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance is to bring together community and waterfront district stakeholders in order to encourage economic vitality and to preserve the historic character of the area. For more information about the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance, visit their website at or contact Mary DesMarais – Executive Director, - 253.514.0071.

Guiding principles of Rotary

These principles have been developed over the years to provide Rotarians with a strong, common purpose and direction. They serve as a foundation for our relationships with each other and the action we take in the world.

Object of Rotary

The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

  • FIRST: The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
  • SECOND: High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
  • THIRD: The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life;

· FOURTH: The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.