Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

FareStart – Downtown, Seattle

Posted on: Tuesday 28 June 2011

Whether it’s slow food or organic, farm to table or nose to tail, local produce and goods have evolved from being a movement to the mainstream. We shop at farmers markets and buy sustainable seafood. There is immense interest in the origins of ingredients, and where and how our food is grown.

At FareStart, it is as much about what is being cooked as it is about who is doing the cooking. The FareStart motto is ‘Great food. Better lives.’, their culinary job training and placement program offer the homeless and disadvantaged an opportunity to learn the skills to pursue a career in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

The FareStart restaurant is open for weekday lunch and hosts Guest Chef Night dinners on Thursdays. In the entrance foyer is a feature wall of plates decorated by donors and sponsors, and framed and autographed black and white photos of past guest chefs. A long communal wooden bench is prominent in the middle of the dining room, there is a mezzanine level and the open plan kitchen is visible from the main part of the restaurant.

I had a mid afternoon appointment and knew that I would be having a light supper so I decided on a three course lunch! On the specials menu were Chef Chieu’s crispy tofu nuggets with sweet chilli dipping sauce. The three golden wedges had a crunchy batter and paired well with the not too sweet sauce. To my surprise, firm tofu was used and it was squeaky like haloumi and a little dry. This was easily remedied by extra dips in the sauce.

Listed in the FareStart favourites section of the standard menu, the blackened salmon sandwich was served on a local artisan roll with a side of lemon caper aioli and with a choice of fries, soup or salad. I opted for the daily house made Thai chicken peanut soup. It was thick and creamy, and full of chicken pieces and toasted peanuts. Unfortunately it was too spicy for my palate.

The wild salmon fillet was seared with a blackening spice and it had a lovely caramelised crust to it. It was a generous portion, about double the size of the brioche bun it was resting on.

The lunch rush had emptied and three wait staff asked separately if I would like dessert – yes please! The crème caramel was oddly presented with sliced strawberries. I love crème caramel – the slight wobble on the plate, the intense caramel layer tempered by smooth custard and how the caramel drips from the inversion.

Students were among the kitchen and wait staff and the revenue from the lunch service goes directly to the FareStart programmes. Winner of the James Beard Foundation 2011 Humanitarian of the Year award, I’m proud that FareStart is part of the Seattle community.

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3 Responses to "FareStart – Downtown, Seattle"

[…] book, Keren hosted a launch party at the Shilshole Bay Beach Club which was also a fundraiser for FareStart. With a panoramic view of Puget Sound, the Beach Club was a spacious venue for tasting bite size […]

[…] attended a panel discussion on food security at FareStart a couple of weeks ago. Moderated by Matt Gurney, FareStart Director of Business Operations, it was […]

[…] sandwiches, taqueria, and greens, beans and grains will cater for lunches and dinners. FareStart students supply the packed salads. There is an organic salad bar in the prepared foods department, […]

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