Chef Seif Chirchi’s initial forays into the culinary world were in the form of macaroni and cheese. Later, the Chicago native’s restaurant experience was limited to the front of the house, where he worked as a server and bartender while studying at the University of Illinois. One night he was asked to assist in the kitchen, and quickly became hooked to back of the house. He went on to work at several restaurants in Urbana, Illinois to pick up the kitchen basics. Finally, he decided to attend culinary school and enrolled in the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. While there, he worked as a line cook at Jake’s Grill. Thereafter graduating in 2001, Chirchi headed to New York City where he spent two years at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House. His last position in New York was at Asiate at the Mandarin Oriental.
While in New York, Chirchi volunteered at James Beard House events where he met Chef Tom Hurley. In 2006, Hurley hired Chirchi, and his now wife, Chef Rachel Yang, to open Coupage in Seattle. In 2007, Chirchi and Yang opened their own restaurant, Joule, in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. Since its opening, Joule has received critical and popular acclaim for their brilliant integration of flavors. In its first two years, the restaurant scored a three-star review from the Seattle Times and won a tough, televised competition in Kitchen Stadium against Iron Chef Jose Garces on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America. Recently, Seattle magazine referred to them as “the culinary geniuses behind Wallingford’s crazy-good Korean/French/worldwide emporium.” In December 2010, Yang and Chirchi, along with partners Chad Dale, Bryce Philips, and Ira Gerlich opened Revel and adjacent bar, Quoin, in Seattle’s eclectic Fremont neighborhood. Revel focuses on Asian street food, and its menu includes housemade pancakes, dumplings, and noodles, all with a nontraditional twist.