Chef Seif Chirchi of Joule - Biography

Seattle, WA

May 2011

Before becoming one-half of Seattle’s most formidable husband-wife chef duo, 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 business at the University of Illinois. One night he was asked to assist in the kitchen, and quickly became hooked to the back of the house. He went on to work at several restaurants in Urbana, Illinois, picking up the kitchen basics. Finally, Chirhci decided to attend culinary school and enrolled at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. Graduating in 2001, Chirchi headed to New York City where he spent two years at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House where he met his future wife and collaborator Rachel Yang.

After moving to Seattle in 2006, the couple opened Coupage. Between love and ambition, the two left the following year to open their own restaurant, Joule, which received critical acclaim. In its first two years, the restaurant scored a three-star review from The Seattle Times, and Chirchi and Yang won a tough, televised competition against Iron Chef Jose Garces on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” They’ve also received a James Beard “Best Chef, Northwest,” nomination. In 2010, Chirchi and Yang opened Revel, followed by Trove, which features a noodle bar, Korean BBQ, and a parfait window, and was named one of GQ’s “Best New Restaurants of 2015.” With their nontraditional twist on Korean cuisine, a remarkable work ethic, and a progressive stance on fair wages, team Chirchi-Yang is a model for restaurateurs and chefs alike. For their work, the duo earned a 2015 StarChefs Rising Star Restaurateurs Award.