Meet Chef Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita

My Latest in Food, Wine, and Travel Magazine:

Meet Chef Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita

by L.M.Archer

Award-winning Chef Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita. Image: ©Robin Marie.

Award-winning Chef Holly Smith opened Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, Washington in 2000. A James Beard Best Chef Northwest 2008 winner, the Maryland native attended Baltimore International Culinary College before moving to Seattle in 1993 to work for Tom Douglas at the Dahlia Lounge. Founding Cafe Juanita provides Holly the freedom to combine her love of Northern Italian food with her commitment to local, organic and sustainable Pacific Northwest products.

Chef Smith recently spoke to me for Food, Wine and Travel readers.

What was the impetus for starting your own restaurant back in 2000?

I wanted to create a restaurant I wanted to go to – something personal.  I wanted the chance to create and have creative control over the whole experience.

Why the focus on Northern Italian cuisine?

I wanted to focus on a cuisine, and had always felt an affinity and respect for Northern Italy.  I began researching when I first started a business plan about two years before Cafe Juanita opened, and that research got me hooked… Read the full interview here.



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