The many facets of Thierry Rautureau

Over the past few months, we’ve attended some cool new events hosted by one of Seattle’s most distinguished chefs. Among these events, Thierry Rautureau opened the doors of Rover’s to host cooking classes and a series of very cool local chefs’ events. What I love about this is that Thierry isn’t resting on his laurels, instead he is finding new ways to reach his legions of local fans and develop ones along the way. Rover’s is one of the very best restaurants in Seattle, this is due to Thierry’s vision and execution, and the excellence of his team. Throughout these new endeavors, The Chef in the Hat is extending his brand to more people and deepening the Rover’s experience.

First off, Thierry Rautureau is an unbelievably fun and amicable guy. If you’ve ever seen his TV appearances or caught the radio show you know. He owns the room, but he is super-friendly and his demeanor draws you in. This makes for an event type atmosphere at any junction. I do love how friendly he is, that he’ll go out of his way to small talk and converse with any of his guests or with new people he meets. Even doling out advice when appropriate. Basically, the dude is great.

But as we step into a new economy it’s interesting to see how restaurants adapt and reinvent themselves. For Thierry, he is opening up the doors to Rover’s. Among his events, he hosts Culinary & Wine Classes at Rover’s, partners with local chefs at Chefs Table events, and he creates new reasons for folks to go to Rover’s. The eaters of Seattle are better for it.

Culinary & Wine Classes

On one Saturday for the next few months, Rover’s will be opening its doors some food and wine classes. Broken down into three blocks, the first is about sweets, the second is about cooking with specific ingredients, and the last is about wine. We went to the class in February for Dungeness crab and Sparkling Wines/Champagne. And last weekend we attended a class on Bordeaux wine.

Of course we had an awesome time! We arrived early for the February class to have Thierry greet us. He filled us in on these classes; people have been clamoring for something like this and the feedback and enrollment were greater than he expected.

The classes were definitely fun. For the crab course, Chef de Cuisine Adam Hoffman was a fun instructor and I learned a fair bit on how to prep a crab salad and crabcakes, their appreciation for Argan Oil, and more. And credit goes out to Amy and Jamie of the kitchen staff. For the wine course, Wine Director Scot Smith guided us. I could always learn more about Sparklers, so it was great to be led through a tasting. I also learned how to saber a bottle! This was worth it’s weight in gold. So now whenever I win a Formula 1 race or christen my yacht, I’m ready

We also had fun at the Bordeaux class. We didn’t have any brandishing of swords, but we still had fun and learned a lot. Scot was again our fearless leader and we drank about eight wines made in separate regions throughout Bordeaux. One of the highlights was learning the differences between Left Bank and Right Bank wines. The Left Bank leans on a heavy Cabernet Sauvignon blend, while the Right Bank uses Merlot as the dominant grapes in their blends. The stand out wine was a 2003 Chateau Cantenac Brown from Margaux. Rich, delicious, and buttery to the nose, this was a really tasty wine. One highlight that I loved about the tasting was that Scot brought a little spoonful of sea salt for each of us to taste while drinking the wine. He did this to mimic drinking wine with food, rather than simply tasting the wine on its own. This was really interesting because the salt brightened and created nuanced flavors that we hadn’t at first noticed. Give it a shot next time you’re tasting wine.

Thierry and his team are working on the next batch of classes for the summer, so stay tuned to Rover’s website for more info. When you’re ready, contact Siri Angeles for more information.

Chefs Table 2009

This is very exciting as well. Over the next several months, six of the best chefs in Seattle will be hosting a dinner at each other’s restaurants with courses in tow. In other words, be prepared for a night of great eating. The first Chefs Table dinner was at Rover’s with Thierry being the host of the evening.

The other chefs in the line-up include Maria Hines of Tilth, Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita, Jonathan Sundstrom of Lark, Jason Wilson of Crush, and Joseba y Jimenez of The Harvest Vine. Each have tons of well-deserved praise so it’ll be great to see what they bring to the table at each event.

All the chefs share the kitchen, so it’ll be fun to see if the old adage of ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ holds up. But of course it’s all for fun, so I’m looking forward to these dinners. Unfortunately, they’re all sold out! But at least call the restaurants and see if you can get on the wait list; they are definitely worth it. We attended the first and can attest that it is worth it!

The cost is $90 per person and here is the schedule:

  • Dinner #1 – Wednesday 2/25 – Rover’s
  • Dinner #2 – Monday 3/16 – Tilth
  • Dinner #3 – Tuesday 4/14 – Harvest Vine
  • Dinner #4 – Monday 5/18 – Lark
  • Dinner #5 – Monday 9/21 – Cafe Juanita
  • Dinner #6 – Monday 10/19 – Crush
  • Dinner#7 – November – details TBD

Brunch and Dinner

Here are a couple of new events at Rover’s; they are serving a Sunday Brunch and a dinner for two meal that is $100!

As for brunch, you have your choice of a two-course brunch for $25 or a three-course brunch for $35. Here is the Spring brunch menu to peruse for your pleasure.

The dinner is a special promotion that Rover’s has set up for their email customers. So when you make your reservation be sure to mention ‘The Rover’s Newsletter’. This dinner runs through through May 3rd, Tuesday-Sunday. It’s a great way to be introduced to Rover’s – or continue your love at a an affordable price.

There you have it! All sorts of fun new ways for Thierry and his crew to diversify their brand and reach out to new audiences. Plus, he’s on Twitter! See you at the table at Rover’s in Madison Park soon.

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Photo from Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.
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