2015 Seattle Rising Star Chef Brady Williams of Canlis

2015 Seattle Rising Star Chef Brady Williams of Canlis
November 2015

Brady Williams grew up in a family that was constantly moving from one place to the next. He was born in California, grew up in Seattle, and moved onwards to pursue his passion for ice hockey. Williams also grew up with uncles and grandparents who owned restaurants. Partially raised around kitchens, he's never been a stranger to the industry. In Dallas, Williams spent his formative years cooking at various restaurants, making his first big splash with the opening of restaurant FT33 in 2012.

Without any formal culinary education, Williams honed his craft, and made the leap to the Big Apple where he landed a position at Brooklyn pizza phenom, Roberta’s in the hipster enclave of Bushwick. He also had the opportunity to work behind the counter at the pizzeria's uber fine-dining counterpart Blanca with Michelin-star Chef Carlo Mirarchi.

When another opportunity arose across the country, Williams headed the call back West and returned to Seattle in 2015—after auditioning for and eventually accepting the position of executive chef of historic shrine to fine-dining Canlis. At 28, Williams is the youngest chef to be selected to helm the iconic kitchen in the restaurant's 64-year history. Ignoring the weight but the not the responsibility of carrying the Canlis mantle, Williams' tasting menu is an undaunted tour-de-force, and he's cooking like he's lived in the Pacific Northwest his entire life.

Interview with Seattle Rising Star Chef Brady Williams of Canlis

Sean Kenniff: What was it like coming to a restaurant with such an illustrious history?
Brady Williams:
The Canlis brand carries such a weight within this city, more than I realized. Being only four months in, the Canlis brothers have really helped facilitate the transition. 

SK: Who's your mentor?
Carlo Mirarchi. I really respect him and the amount of humility he has. He never self promoted and worked hard and he was able to make this great place. Humility and hard work are important, and I hope people love eating here. If we're doing our job, the accolades and recognition may come, but it's not a goal. The goal is to offer great food, wine, and service, and that the guests leave the restaurant happy.

SK: What are some of the goals you've set for yourself?
My goal is to have a restaurant where the food and service speak for itself. It's not our goal to be part of events and get awards, they're great, but I'd like to restaurant to do the talking. If we're doing the job, we should be getting those accolades and recognition.

SK: What's your most important kitchen rule?
Everyone should try to maintain a sense of quiet and calm.

SK: What's your favorite kitchen tool, and what tool do you wish you had?
Our open-coal grill and hearth. I wish we had a wood-fire oven.

SK: What's your five year plan?
Leading a team that is tighter, that feels valued, is hard working, and putting out the best food in America. 

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