Rising Star Chef Johnathan Sundstrom of Lark - Biography

Seattle, WA

November 2011

Originally from Salt Lake City, Johnathan Sundstrom first learned to cook in a traditional Japanese restaurant and sushi bar, before taking on his formal studies in 1987 at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont.

Following the two-year program, where he graduated with honors, he worked in some of the country's most prominent hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Club XIX at the Lodge at Pebble Beach and the Stein Ericksen Lodge.

In March of 1999, Sundstrom toured Japan, exploring, tasting, and researching Japanese food and culture. He also went on a working tour of New York and San Francisco’s finest kitchens with renowned Chefs Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Diane Forley, Gary Danko, and Traci Des Jardins. Following these inspiring and educational travels, Sundstrom returned to Seattle with a renewed sense of purpose, new ideas and techniques, and a greater understanding of excellence.

In Seattle, Sundstrom first worked at the eclectic Raison d'être Café, where Northwest ingredients and an artist's approach to cooking were emphasized. It was at Raison d'être that Sundstrom first established contacts with local farmers and foragers. In 1993, after stints at Café Sport and Campagne, Sundstrom joined Dahlia Lounge, where, after one year, he was promoted to sous chef, and a year after that, to executive chef. The next four years found John working closely with owner Tom Douglas developing and refining the restaurant and its menu. Before taking the top spot at Earth & Ocean, the Myriad Restaurant Group's first Seattle restaurant, John ran the kitchen at Carmelita, one of Seattle’s more prominent vegetarian establishments.

Sundstrom took the culinary lead at Earth & Ocean Restaurant in September 2000, thereby solidifying 15 years of culinary experience. His culinary aesthetic had evolved through the study and interpretation of Japanese, Latin, and European cuisines, and it earned him a 2003 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Chef Award. As Executive Chef for W Seattle, Johnathan was responsible for the culinary direction in Earth & Ocean, the W Bar, In-Room Dining, Banquets, and Catering. Later that year, Sundstrom left Earth & Ocean, to open Lark on Seattle's Capitol Hill, with his wife, JM Enos and partner Kelly Ronan.

Sundstrom is an active member of Chef's Collaborative, an organization of chefs, farmers and artisans dedicated to a sustainable food supply. He has taught numerous cooking classes at venues throughout the region, including; Sur La Table, the Bon- Macy’s, Pasta and Company, Cook's World, as well as the University Farmer's Market and Seattle Tilth. Sundstrom also participates in a number of fundraising events each year for the community, benefiting such organizations as FareStart, Share our Strength (Taste of the Nation), Northwest Harvest, Bailey-Boushay House, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the March of Dimes.