Rising Star Chef John Sundstrom of Lark - Biography

Seattle, WA

September 2016

Salt Lake City-born John Sundstrom apprenticed in a traditional Japanese restaurant for four years before graduating from the New England Culinary Institute with honors in 1989. He then worked in the world of luxury hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Southern California, Club XIX at the Lodge at Pebble Beach, and the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah. 

In 1999, Sundstrom toured Japan, researching Japanese food and culture, and then went on a working tour of New York and San Francisco, cooking in the kitchens of Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Diane Forley, Gary Danko, and Traci Des Jardins. Back In Seattle, Sundstrom joined the team at Raison d'Être Café, where he first established contacts with local farmers and foragers. Starting in 1993 after stints at Café Sport and Campagne, Sundstrom spent six years at Tom Douglas’ first restaurant and Seattle landmark the Dahlia Lounge, rising to the position of executive chef. After opening the Myriad Restaurant Group’s first Seattle restaurant, vegetarian Carmelita, Sundstrom took the culinary lead at Earth & Ocean in the W Seattle Hotel, winning a StarChefs Rising Stars Award. 

In 2003 Sundstrom opened Lark, and in 2007 won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef, Pacific Northwest.” At Lark, Sundstrom combines Japanese, Latin, and European influences with product from the region’s best artisans, farmers, and foragers. In 2012, he released Lark: Cooking Against the Grain, and two years later, Lark moved to the Central Agency Building, where Sundstrom also opened Bitter/Raw and Slab Sandwich & Pie. Sundstrom will further expand his presence in Seattle with a forthcoming pizza spot, Southpaw.