Tom Douglas on Proposed $15/Hour Minimum Wage Increase

An Introduction to Tom’s Letter:

Most of you have heard about the Seattle movement to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. While we all want to see more money put into the hands of those who are at the bottom of the wage scale, we also feel that there hasn’t been enough public discussion given to issues such as whether benefits are to be considered part of wages and, of special importance to the restaurant industry, whether tips are to be considered part of wages. If the answer to both these questions is no, what are the economic consequences to businesses and in particular to our restaurant business model?  This is a complicated issue and one that we think is not well served by slogans. Our company’s own recent back-of-house wage increase initiative has vaulted us to the forefront of this debate. Tom would like to clarify his thoughts on the proposed $15/ hour minimum wage increase as a way of starting a discussion on how this increase, if it is passed by the City Council or voted in on the ballot, will affect all of us and our economic futures. Here is Tom’s letter:

$15 NOW is a catchy easy to understand slogan. Where we stand on it is the question of the day and has been every day for months on end.  This is a very important issue and is not going to be swept under the carpet.  So let’s explore it from the restaurateurs’ perspective, mine in particular.

I have been at the forefront of this issue, in the medias eyes, because of our back of the house (BOH) initiative last August.  I felt, and continue to feel that the kitchen side of our business is undervalued economically as a profession.  While health care has always been a priority at our restaurants, too many of our BOH crew have to choose between their doctor and their rent.  Restaurant kitchens are a traditional landing zone for people who have chosen culinary careers, skilled craftsmen and women, gaining valuable experience for future endeavors.  The newest immigrants to America often fill positions in the BOH while they learn a new language and acquire new job skills.  On average our dish team earns $12 per hour, prep cooks $13 and cook’s $15+.  BOH also receives a small tip out from the FOH in the neighborhood of $50-$75 a month.  Up to 9 days of Paid Sick and Safe Leave was mandated by City council decree and implemented in 2013 for all staff members.

The front of the house (FOH) crew typically consists of highly trained hospitality veterans.  Many have honed their craft over a decade and deliver graciousness and deliciousness every day.  Waiters, bussers, hosts and bartenders all receive gratuities as part of their wages.  These “tips” are considered wages by the IRS and the State of Washington.  We pay the typical payroll taxes on these tips and are responsible for the federal taxes if a tipped staff member doesn’t declare and pay their appropriate tax share. In fact they ARE the wages of our industry.  When you include the current minimum wage of $9.32 most FOH staff members make in excess of $20 per hour with a high of $40 to $50 depending on their  shift.  FOH wage earners also receive the benefit of CPI on menu pricing because tips are based on the menu price.  There is always the possibility that a shift might be “called off” for business volume reasons which would equal zero pay.

This does not mean that the tipped employee is getting filthy rich either.  I don’t begrudge the FOH its traditional wage structure, but we need to realize that the $15NOW movement was born in the fast food industry model and not tipped dining.

There is much to be gained or lost when the Mayor’s task force and City Council’s task force arrive at their recommendations.  Even more important is having leadership with a back bone to decipher the suggestions and fight for what is right.

Let’s look at our current business model.

…We run on average a 5% profit business before taxes and reinvestment.

…We offer full health care benefits to anyone willing to take on the responsibility of management and subsidize at 50% of the medical insurance premiums for anyone else on our team who would like health care, requiring only that they average 25 hours a week worked.  We subsidize 75% for those staying with us more than seven years.  

… We offer vacation benefits of 1 week after 1 year, 2 weeks after 2 years and 3 weeks after 5 years  and 4 weeks after 10 years to every full time staff member who works 40 hours per week and proratedvacation pay to part time staff who work  25+ hours per week annually.  

… We offer  up to 9 paid sickleave days to every full time staff member and corresponding leave to part time staff.  

…We offer 50% off dining in any of our restaurants to staff and a guest. 

…We offer 16,000 free staff meals every month during all shifts worked.  

…We keep a staff emergency fund for those times that a team member requires more cash than what’s on hand.  

…We pay for uniforms when they are required.  

…We do not charge staff credit card fees on tips.

…We even have free espresso:)

The $15NOW  group would like to see a $15 minimum across all job classifications and immediate implementation.

I would like to see the minimum wage increase (who decreed that it has to be $15?) phased in over 5 years for non tipped staff.  I would like to see the  FOH continue at minimum wage + consumer price index raises each year. There should be implementation across all businesses uniformly regardless of size and structure.

Our numbers suggest that if $15 NOW has its way without any consideration for tip enhanced wages, fine dining restaurant prices would immediately jump 20%.   That is a $5 million+ direct price hike annually on our menus and consequently to our customers.  That is more than double our bottom line before taxes and reinvestment.  In other words there is no way for us to absorb this expense in-house. This also does not reflect price increases we are likely to receive from our farmers, dry goods vendors and beverage distributors.  This price increase is hugely inflationary to the restaurant business and is irresponsible when considering  business people who have long-term leases and investments based on prior economic models.

Maybe there are too many restaurants and this will be a natural way to cull out the weakest among them.  I do have some concern that we would have to shutter some of our, but if that’s what the voters want then so be it. They are the ones who will be asked to foot the bill.  This is going to touch everybody soon, so I suggest you do your own math and see where it might affect your life.  Can or will your employer still afford health care?  Staff meals? Everything you buy from local produce to rent to childcare to your own meals out on the town will be affected.  We do know that the City Council and Mayor’s office will still make their wage and enjoy their health and retirement benefits without fail.

I would be lying to say that I’m not concerned with the outcome of this national experiment happening in the Seattle market.  It is also not lost on me that our City Council and Mayor’s office have very little small business experience.  While they have budgets to live by, they are not playing with their own cash.  Parking meter fees, B&O tax dollars, excise “sales” taxes and fees collected from tourist and business travelers and the rest of us are chess pieces to be moved on a board, but the cost of failure is ours, the tax payers. Raises and benefits given to city workers are from our tax pockets.  They might get voted out of office for their actions and decrees, but they won’t go bankrupt. It is inherently easier to spend other people’s money than the gut check of investing your last dime into a dream.

I have put our money where our mouth is in trying to offer a more livable wage to our non-tipped staff.  Seattle currently has the highest “waiter wage” in the country.  We have already had to raise menu prices to cover our BOH wage initiative even though I was determined to absorb its cost within our current bottom line.  What is a reasonable profit for us to make?  If you think for a second that “Tom Douglas Restaurants” are “too big to fail” you are sadly mistaken.

 I am frustrated that the Walmarts and McDonalds of the world have not stepped up to offer more livable wages and health care for their employees and record huge profits all the while. They should be ashamed of their business models.  They rely on food banks to feed their crews and hospital emergency rooms to provide their health services all on the backs of responsible employers and citizens.  I prefer compassionate capitalism over “highest best use” and ” maximized profits”.  These reckless ME ME ME terms inevitably lead to the destruction of the relationship and trust between ownership and staff.

We as a company have worked hard to keep Seattle a viable downtown and a more livable city.  My fellow restaurateurs, hoteliers and I have stepped up to every charitable cause and have been compassionate, active neighbors.  When business from outside of our city decides whether to pick our town for their convention or business meeting, they look at the economics for their attendees.  When tourists pick a destination, it often reflects the “deal” they are able to get.   As a board member of Visit Seattle, I know we are one of the most expensive locations in the country already.  Thirty to forty percent of our business, depending on the season, relies on travelers’ spending.

When a local has to choose where to dine, they are now faced with a 520 bridge toll, increased parking rates and hours, future tunnel tolls, terrible traffic jams and now a possible 20%+ menu inflation.  It’s not hard to imagine them choosing to stay at home.  In fact, many already have because of another trend….on line shopping.  We began to feel the effects of this trend in 2013 and don’t see it stopping anytime soon. When the modern American shopping center was born right here at Northgate Mall and proliferated to suburbs around the nation, many downtown cores were decimated. In a recent chat with a downtown department store owner, there is serious concern that in-store foot traffic will decrease by 50% between 2010 and 2020.  That is what their models are showing with the extrapolation for us being if you’re not coming downtown to shop you’re  probably not going downtown for dinner either.

It is clear to me that this is a direct tax on restaurants like we were some sort of vice like tobacco or marijuana.  It is also a thinly veiled tax grab for the city.  First the lusty new parking rates and now 20 to 25 percent more sales taxes on increased menu pricing.  Shel Silverstein wrote an elegant morality tale called “The Giving Tree” and I’m afraid our leaders have not read it recently. Seattle’s City Council and Mayor attribute their election to the support of organized labor while we as a community are being eaten alive, limb by limb.

Finally, a few thoughts about our “little” company that Jackie and I started in 1989.  We are now a collection of small businesses joined at the hip. There is a common core set of values and ideals.  We have survived a tortured yet blessed beginning  including the release of half of our staff after our first 3 months in business and the birth of baby Loretta 5 months after opening night.  Serious under-capitalization, three or four recessions and bubbles, September 11, and even robbery at gunpoint have not deterred us.  We have been embraced by Seattle and environs in a way we could never have imagined and for that we are extremely  grateful. We have chosen to be part of the livable downtown Seattle solution rather than migrating to safer ports.  This minimum wage issue could, depending on the outcome, be the most serious threat to our ability to compete so far.

We have gone from doing a little less than a million dollars in business our first year to over 50 in year 25. Our co-workers have blossomed from 20 to almost a thousand.   We have gone from being a few days from bankruptcy to having, at one point, 5 payrolls in the bank . We have averaged a 5% profit over our tenure, 1% better than the national average for fine dining restaurants…yahoo!  We treasure our co-workers and customers more than anything else.

As the chips fall in this process let’s ALL be thoughtful and learn ALL the facts about this worthwhile debate.  We concur with the idea that everyone deserves a fair wage for a hard day’s work.  In my opinion, $15NOW with no acknowledgement of total compensation is a hollow slogan meant for headlines and shout downs rather than thoughtful, meaningful conversation, and equitable solutions.  It makes no sense for Seattle to have a carved out exemption when the IRS and the State of Washington both concur that tips are earned income. That is what needs to be said.  

Tom Douglas

File Under News + Press


Easter Brunch at Luc!

Join us at Luc for Easter Brunch, Sunday April 20th from 10am-3pm! Along with our “Happy Weekend” menu we will also be serving a special brunch menu!

Easter Brunch Menu Items

braised rabbit, saffron pappardelle, citrus gremolata $21

baked eggs, moroccan spices, shaved ham, comté cheese $12

chocolate hazelnut crepe – whipped cream $7

crepe of rhubarb confit, lemon curd, whipped cream $7

french toast, vanilla saffron, maple syrup $11

File Under Luc + Uncategorized


Seattle Restaurant Week at Loulay Kitchen & Bar!

Join us at Loulay Kitchen & Bar for Spring 2014 Seattle Restaurant Week this April! Enjoy a 3-course dinner menu for just $28 Sunday through Thursday, April 6th-10th and April 13th-17th!


First Course – Choice of:

red beet soup, watercress, balsamic-walnut vinaigrette


grilled romaine, radish, olive tapenade, citrus


paté country style, rhubarb compote, grilled bread

Entrée – Choice Of:

loulay bourride, local clams, saffron broth


guinea fowl, baby carrot, farro, rosemary demi


braised mushroom, spinach, caramelized turnip,

toasted brioche, grated Comte

 Dessert – Choice Of:

Chocolate Truffle Cake, praline bar, lemon crémeux,

roasted white chocolate ice milk


tapioca brulée, smoke turbinado, candied cashews


crunchy profiterole, butter pecan ice cream, salted caramel


File Under Loulay + News


Seattle Restaurant Week at LUC!

Seattle Restaurant Week returns this April! Enjoy a 3-course dinner menu for just $28 Sunday through Thursday, April 6th-10th and April 13th-17th!

SRW Menu

First Course – Choice of:

baby lettuce salad, red wine vinaigrette, crouton, flake salt


carrot soup, coriander oil, fresh mint


roasted baby beets, bleu d’auvergne, radish, frisse

Entrée – Choice of:

carlton farms dijon rubbed pork chop and frites


washington halibut, pink peppercorn,

ginger butter sauce,carrot, baby yukon gold potato, herb salad


parisian pillows, pan roasted broccoli, mushroom, butternut squash, parmesan

Dessert – Choice of:

olive oil cake, rhubarb confit, lemon whip cream, basil


chocolate pot de crème, anise hazelnut cookie


basil scented bavarois, apple compote, almond streusel

File Under Luc


March 3-course special at Luc

For the entire month of March, Luc will be serving a slow roasted pork shoulder with cauliflower, caper-raisin vinaigrette, and rosemary demi-glace for $18 or a three course prix fixe menu for $28!


Chef’s Choice Starter:

Fromage fort tartine

Course 1:

Butter lettuce, parmesan, walnut, tarragon vinaigrette


Slow roasted pork shoulder, cauliflower, caper-raisin vinaigrette, rosemary demi-glace

Dessert – Choice Of:

chocolate pot de créme


Hazelnut anise cookie


Basil scented bavarois, apple compote, vanilla almond streusel

File Under Luc


Valentine’s Day at Loulay Kitchen & Bar

Valentine’s Day Lunch Menu $40*

grapefruit, celery root, remoulade, butter lettuce


veal sweetbreads, herb salad, mustard-currant sauce


multi-color cauliflower, carrot salad, chili vinaigrette


Choice of dessert


Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu $65*

Wine Pairing $60*

watercress-roasted beet salad, chilled wasabi flan, ginger-lemon fluid gel, beet syrup

WP-Cremant de Loire, De Chancey, Brut Rose, NV, Loire FR


sour currant jam, taleggio cheese


caramelized onion, shaved asparagus salad

WP-Vouvray, Christophe Thorigny, Sec, 2012, Loire FR


seared polenta, warm brussel sprout salad, dijon sauce


olive oil, toasted almond broth, grilled baby carrots, fondue of wild mushroom


roasted napa cabbage, sunchoke purée,
pickled shallot

WP-Tenuta di Arceno, Il Fauno di Arcanum, 2010, Toscany IT


butter pecan ice cream, salted caramel


praline bar, lemon crémeux,
roasted white chocolate ice milk

WP-Clairette de Die, Carod Freres, NV, Rhone FR

*Prices do not include gratuity or tax.
**A vegetarian option will be available by request

File Under Loulay + Uncategorized


Super Bowl Sunday at Luc

In honor of the Super Bowl this year we will be open for brunch from 10am-2pm. In addition to our regular brunch menu we will be serving a “Beast Mode” Burger for $12 and the Skittles are on us!

“Beast Mode” Burger

Smoked ground N.Y. Steak, smoked paprika aioli sauce, tomato jam, bacon, fried egg, onion frites

Due to a private party we will be closed after 2pm on Sunday, Feburary 2, 2014.

Go Seahawks!!!


File Under Luc + Uncategorized


Valentine’s Day at LUC

 Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your special someone at LUC!

In addition to our regular dinner menu, LUC will be offering a 4-Course Menu for $40 to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

This menu will be offered Friday the 14th and  Saturday the 15th.

For reservations please call 206.328.6645 or online.


Four Courses at $40 Per Person

Chef’s starter

Mushroom, fromage sachet feuille de brique

First Course-Choice Of:

Dungeness crab cake, green apple, watercress, shaved fennel


Roasted beets, pistachio streusel, fromage bleu d’auvergne, wild arugula


Soup du jour

Entrée-Choice Of:

Market fish


Duck two ways, confit of duck, crispy skin breast, blood orange duck sauce, white beans, grilled endive


Roasted winter vegetable tajine, mahmsa, cara cara oranges, salade d’herbes.

Dessert-Choice Of:

Chocolate pot de créme


Floating island, citrus caviar, créme anglaise


Two cheeses with seasonal garnishes

File Under Luc + News + Uncategorized


New Year’s Eve with Loulay Kitchen & Bar

New Year’s Eve 2013 Menu

Tuesday, 12/31


1st Seating (5:00pm—7:30pm), 4-Courses: $65/person*

Reservations are available by phone only. Call 206.402.4588 for reservations.**



Chilled Lobster, Crème Fraiche Gelèe, Pickled Kumquat, Mâche, Chive Dressing


Second Course:

Oregon Quail Roulade, Caramelized Parsnip, Apple-Walnut Salad, Brown Butter Sauce


Main Course:

Roasted Mishima Ranch Waygu Beef, Charred Brussels Sprouts, Carnaroli Rice, German Butter Cheese, Harissa Demi



Chocolate Truffle Cake, Praline Bar, Lemon Crèmeux, Roasted White Chocolate Ice Milk



2nd Seating (8:30pm—11pm), 5-Courses: $85/person*



Chilled Lobster, Crème Fraiche Gelèe, Pickled Kumquat, Mâche, Chive Dressing


Second Course:

Oregon Quail Roulade, Caramelized Parsnip, Apple-Walnut Salad, Brown Butter Sauce


Third Course:

Potato Wrapped Baked Cod, Caviar Butter, Soubise Sauce


Main Course:

Roasted Mishima Ranch Waygu Beef, Charred Brussels Sprouts, Carnaroli Rice, German Butter Cheese, Harissa Demi



Chocolate Truffle Cake, Praline Bar, Lemon Crèmeux, Roasted White Chocolate Ice Milk

Of course the Chef In The Hat favorites will also be available along with the full bistro menu:

Seared Foie Gras, Lady Apple, Walnut Bread, Apple Cider $17

Scrambled Egg,White Sturgeon Caviar $25

Beef Rib Eye, Confit Shallot, Goat Cheese Crotin, Bone Marrow Demi-Glace $32


*Prices do not include wine, gratuity or tax.

**A vegetarian menu will be available by request.


File Under Events + Loulay


Holiday Hours at LUC & Loulay

As much as we love sharing this time of year with our guests, we also love sharing it with our friends and family.

LUC and Loulay will be closed for business on the following dates:

December 24, 2013

December 25, 2013

January 1, 2014

LUC will also be closed on January 6, 2014

We hope you enjoy these special days with the ones you love, and make sure to drop by to say, “Happy Holidays!”

File Under Loulay + Luc + Uncategorized


New Year’s Eve at Luc!


Ring in the new year at Luc with a special NYE menu!

New Year’s Eve Menu 2013

Fromage fort tartine with braised leeks

First Course – Choice of:
Soup du jour
Beet salad, goat cheese mousse, blood orange, arugula, walnuts
Dungeness crab cake, shaved fennel, watercress, tarragon dressing

Second Course – Choice of:
Snake River Farms Wagyu New York Steak, potato gratin, braised greens, elderberry demi-glace
Salmon filet, lentils, lardon, green apple, cider gastrique, madras curry, herb salad
Parisian pillows, roasted root vegetables, acorn squash, hazelnut brown butter, sage

Third Course –  Choice of:
Chocolate pot de créme with hazelnut cookie
2 cheese with seasonal garnishes
Almond cake, poached pear, caramel ice cream

Wine Pairing


Domaine Rifault Sancerre, FR 2012

First Course

Kestrel Viognier, WA 2012

Main Course

Lachini Pinot Noir, OR 2010


Bernard Boutinet Pineau, FR



Make your resevations today!

File Under Luc + Uncategorized


Chef In The Hat announces Loulay Kitchen & Bar

Bonjour Gourmand!

Kathy and I are pleased to finally announce the opening of Loulay Kitchen & Bar on December 4, 2013. Named for my hometown of Saint Hilaire de Loulay in France, Loulay Kitchen & Bar marries the French influence of my upbringing with modern twist and sensibility to provide an accessible dining experience for everyone.
Loulay’s menu highlights the freshness of local and seasonal ingredients following our tradition. Many of the menu items are rooted in my childhood memories, including hot chocolate with brioche and salted butter that is based on a recipe shared with my grandparents in the morning around the farm kitchen table in France. Loulay Kitchen & Bar is the culinary representation of my heart and soul, representing the spirit of the food of my childhood as seen through the prism of my many years of experience combined with my fondness of Northwest ingredients.
With a variety of distinctive dining areas, Loulay Kitchen & Bar offers multiple dining experiences. The six-seat Chef’s Counter provides a spot in the heart of the action overlooking the kitchen and the bar offers 24 seats in the bustling lounge. The main dining room gives an urban feeling to Loulay and the balcony feels perfect for an anniversary in a glowing setting. This is where the one dinner table is prominently placed, overlooking the kitchen providing the best bird’s-eye view. The mezzanine provides a more intimate dining experience in a serene setting and is available for private events up to 32 guests.
Kathy and I think now is the perfect time to give birth to a new concept downtown Seattle and Loulay is the perfect marriage of both. We have an outstanding team with staff from Rovers, Luc, and new faces, a blossoming location, and an environment that satisfies so many dining experiences. We are thrilled to open our doors to a wonderful downtown community and a great partnership with the Sheraton Ownership Group.
Loulay Kitchen & Bar is located at 600 Union Street in Seattle is be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. The restaurant offers a lunch menu from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., a dinner menu from 5 to 10 p.m., and a lighter bistro menu available throughout the day. Valet parking is available at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. For more information or to make reservations, call 206-402-4588 or visit
We are so grateful for your support over the years, we look forward to serving you for many more years!

Bon Appetit!

File Under Loulay + Uncategorized


Chef David Mitchell Cooking Demo at Pike Place Market

Luc’s Chef de Cuisine David Mitchell is very excited to be a part of Pike Place Market’s Atrium Kitchen Chef Demos on Wednesday, December 4th from noon to 1pm.

Chef David will be demonstrating how to make a celery root and potato soup with chive and lemon oil in the brand new Atrium Kitchen at Pike Place Market. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the cooking demo, we will be serving Chef David’s celery root and potato soup all night at Luc on December 4th!



File Under Events + Luc + News + Uncategorized


Mushroom and Potato Croquette Recipe

Here in the Pacific Northwest we are very fortunate to have such an abundance of seasonal, beautiful and local produce available at all times of the year. This season at Luc you can look forward to seeing an array of wild mushrooms, Cauliflower Mushrooms, Lobster Mushrooms, and Black, Golden, and White Chanterelle Mushrooms from some of the most passionate local foragers in the Pacific Northwest.

Here is one of Chef David Mitchell’s favorite wild mushroom recipe’s to cook at home.

Mushroom and Potato Croquette

1lb Chanterelle Mushrooms cleaned and rough chopped

¼ cup olive oil

1lb raw Yukon Gold potatoes

2 clove garlic

½ large onion

1cup Comte Cheese (or high quality Swiss)

2 T minced chives

1 T harissa

4 egg whites whisked

3 cups of Panko or any bread crumb

Salt and pepper to taste


Method: Boil potatoes in salted water with garlic cloves until fully cooked then strain and cool. Lightly salt mushrooms and let sit for 20 minutes, in a large sauté pan heat the olive oil until lightly smoking and add mushrooms in small batches so not to over crowd, cook until lightly crisp and caramelized.  Dice and sauté onions on med high heat to get color then cool. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well. Bread with egg white and Panko bread crumbs.


For frying two croquettes: Heat 3oz canola oil to medium-high heat and add croquettes, cook for 2 minutes or until dark golden brown, flip and cook 2 more minutes until dark golden brown. Drain on paper towels, and lightly season with salt. This dish is great served with a small side salad and any kind of aioli or savory chutney or jam.

File Under Luc + Recipes


Costume Contest at Luc

Join us this Halloween for a costume contest and fall inspired cocktails at Luc. Come in costume between 5pm-9pm for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Luc. Management staff will choose their favorite costume at the end of the night, so be sure to dress to impress!

File Under Uncategorized


Chef In The Hat: It Takes Two Best Buy Demo

Chef In The Hat™ will be hosting in-store event It Takes Two at the Bellevue Best Buy store from 3pm-6pm on Saturday, October 5th.  It Takes Two will feature small kitchen appliance demos, live cooking demos  from Chef Thierry Rautureau, and the chance to get a hands on experience with the products and food!

Stop by and say hello to the Chef In The Hat on Saturday,  learn how to make a few of Chef Thierry’s favorite dishes, and for a chance to win a small appliance kitchen makeover from Best Buy!

File Under Events + News


Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking

Check out Thierry and Tom with host Pete Evans on Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking, a new 13-episode series produced by WGBH and Fine Cooking magazine. Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking takes viewers on a culinary journey across America and spends a day in Seattle.


Here’s a sneak peak of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking in Seattle

File Under News + Press + Uncategorized


Seattle Restaurant Week October 2013

October SRW2013

Seattle Restaurant Week returns this October! Enjoy a 3-course dinner menu for just $28 Sunday through Thursday, October 13-17 and October 20-24!

October SRW Menu



Pumpkin Soup, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Sage, Nutmeg

Pear Salad, Gem Lettuce, Hazelnut Butter, Bleu D’auvergne, Tarragon Dressing, Radish

Pork and Roasted Sweet Pepper Croquette, Smoked Tomato Aioli, Frisée



Crispy Skin Confit of Chicken, Fig, White Bean, Lamb Sausage, Fine Herbs

Moules Frites, Taylor Shellfish Mussels Steam with White Wine, Mustard, Saffron, and Parsley. Served with Pommes Frites

Moroccan Spiced Eggplant, Chickpea, Lemon Confit, Aubergine, Vegetable Demi-Glace



Pot de Crème – Hazelnut Cookie

Two Cheeses with Seasonal Accompaniments

Huckleberry – Bay leaf Scented Bavarois

Make your reservations today!

File Under Uncategorized


Seattle Kitchen on at new times!


Seattle Kitchen’s new times on Kiro 97.3FM are Saturdays from 5pm-7pm and Sundays from 10 – noon. You can also listen to past episodes on Kiro Radio!

File Under News


Luc at Craft Beer + Food


This year Luc will be participating in Seattle’s Annual Craft Beer + Food Tasting Event and have paired up with Two Beers Brewing Company. Craft Beer + Food is an event showcasing the Seattle area’s finest craft beer and cuisine, presented by the Washington Beer Blog. Featuring delicious dishes from ten of the area’s best restaurants paired with beers from ten of the area’s best breweries.

All proceeds will benefit Seattle Tilth and the Just Garden Project.

Craft Beer + Food
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
6:00 – 9:00 pm

File Under Events + Luc


LUC Happy Hour Served Daily!

Happy Hour Everyday


$5 each

french fries, harissa aioli

smoked salmon tartine, herbed goat cheese

NEW! A.B.L.T., avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato

olive oil toasted baguette,tapenade,tomato jam

fromage blanc

Boston lettuce, toasted walnut, red wine vinaigrette

steamed mussels and clams, butter, white wine, shallot,

garlic, herb broth

grilled steak onglet salad, bleu d’Auvergne, cucumber,


braised pork skewer, harissa jam, tartar sauce


columbia city bakery bread

moroccan olives with olive oil


petit boeuf bourguignon stew


local oysters on the half shell (market price)


$5 muscadet

$5 Avivé natural peach sparkling wine

$4 glass house rosé or red wine

$3 pint draft PBR

$5 mini mad hat’n

$5 tini lucatini

File Under Luc


Meet Luc’s Chef de Cuisine David Mitchell

Name: David Mitchell

Where Are You From: East Bay, CA

Work Experience: As a young cook I started out at The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco. The experience at The Ritz-Carlton gave me a great base in French cuisine. At 24 I took a Chef de Cuisine position at La Beau’s. I moved to Washington to take the Executive Sous Chef position at Hotel Bellwether. Most recently I worked with Chef Steven Ariel at new restaurant Trace at the W Hotel.

Favorite Food to Cook: My favorite food to cook is crispy skin fish. It’s challenging, but when you get it right, it’s beautiful.

Favorite Late-Night Snack: Cold fried chicken and macaroni salad… It’s the best!

Favorite Line From A Movie: “We cut back on my percentage, it’s liable to cut back my aim.” – The Good The Bad and The Ugly

Best Vacation You Ever Had: The Virgin Islands, St. John. Perfect water, perfect weather, and great food!

Guilty Pleasure Song: Something – LL Cool J

If You Weren’t In The Restaurant Industry You Would Be? A Marine Biologist specializing in shark research.

Favorite “Summer” Food: A BLT with perfectly ripe tomato and avocado on sourdough with butter lettuce and thickly sliced bacon. (Just like the one coming to Luc next week!)

File Under Luc


Bing Cherries, Beecher’s Cheese, and Jambon Ham Salad

Cherry vinegar:

2 cups pitted and crushed Bing Cherries

2 cups white balsamic vinegar

Bring cherries and vinegar to a simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat and let stand til cool, transfer to a glass jar, cover and leave at room temp over night. Refrigerate leftovers after using.

Cherry salad:

1 cup pitted and halved Bing Cherries, plus 1 cup pitted Bing Cherries with stems attached.

1 cup pitted and halved Rainier Cherries, plus 1 cup pitted Rainier cherries with stems attached.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Toss all of the cherries in the olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper.

Season with salt to taste.

To finish:

1 cup Beecher’s cheese curds

½ cup toasted whole almonds

12 thin slices of Jambon Ham (or any high quality thinly sliced ham will work)

A couple handfuls of Baby Mizuna (you can find at farmers markets)


Divide the cherry salad evenly among 4 plates, add the cheese curds and toasted almonds, lay on top the ham and the Minzuna, then drizzle 1 tablespoon cherry vinegar over each dish. Bon Appetite!

File Under Luc + Recipes


Kitchen Circus On YouTube

Kitchen Circus is a live event and a reality web series that includes home cooks testing their skills in the Rover’s professional kitchen . Each episode showcases three contestants competing to create one dinner course to serve to 45 people.
The competition is exciting and involves real people in all aspects. Only amateur home cooks were able to audition to compete in Kitchen Circus and every dish was judged by the dinner guests. The winners from each dinner moved on to the Finale at the end of the season.
Celebrity Guests in the series include: Tom Douglas
(James Beard Award Winning Chef/Restaurateur), Steve Scher (NPR Radio Host), Jason Wilson (Chef/Owner at Crush), and Maria Hines (Chef/Owner at Tilth).
Each 30 minute episode is now available on YouTube


File Under Press + Rover's


Bite of Seattle 2013

The GROUPON Bite of Seattle 2013 will take place Friday July 19, Saturday July 20, and Sunday July 21. Take part in this annual celebration by spending the weekend sampling bites from some of Seattle’s best restaurants and sipping on local craft beers and wine.

This year Chef Thierry Rautureau will be hosting The Bite Cooks! Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Bite Cooks! is a  high energy live cooking entertainment showcase located on the Fisher rooftop for everyone to enjoy! Participants include some of Seattle’s finest chefs, including our very own Chef Rob Sevcik.

You can also find Luc at The Alley Sunday, July 21st

The Bite Cooks! Schedule

File Under Events + Luc + News + Press


Luc closed for the 4th of July


Luc will be closed Thursday, July 4th in observation of the 4th of July holiday.

Happy 4th of July!

File Under Luc + News


7/15 Kitchen Circus Premier

Kitchen Circus Premier

We kicked off the first season of Kitchen Circus in 2012 auditioning home cooks to test their skills in Rover’s professional kitchen. We filmed the 4 dinner competitions where each contestant made one dinner course for 45 guests. We are now ready to premier the web series.


Kitchen Circus Premier:
Come celebrate the Kitchen Circus premier with Chef Thierry Rautureau, meet contestants, and be the first to see a full episode of Kitchen Circus on Monday, July 15th at 6pm.

• Palace Ballroom (2100 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121)
• Tickets available online starting at
• $25 per person (includes appetizers and 1 beverage)
o 21 and over ONLY
o Tickets MUST be purchased in advance, NO TICKETS available at door


We are excited to announce the first season (all four episodes) will be available on YouTube/KitchenCircus on Tuesday, July 16th!


More About Kitchen Circus:
Kitchen Circus is both a live event and a reality web series. Nine home cooks each made one course of a three course meal at Rover’s for 45 dinner guests. The dinner guests selected a winner by voting on 3 criteria; taste, presentation and creativity. The winners from each dinner moved on to the Finale at the end of the season. Celebrity Guests in the series include: Tom Douglas (Restaurateur Extraordinaire), Steve Scher (NPR Radio Host), Jason Wilson (Chef/Owner at Crush), Maria Hines (Chef/Owner at Tilth, Agrodolce, Golden Beetle), and more.

Help support Kitchen Circus by viewing Kitchen Circus previews and episodes online, and share with your friends.

File Under Events + News + Press


Au Revoir Rover’s

Rover’s served its last déguster on June 23rd, 2013. A big thank you to all who have supported us over the years. We are looking forward seeing all of you in our new restaurant in the Fall. In the meantime come and say “Hi!” at Luc and stay tuned for new adventures from The Chef In The Hat!

File Under News + Rover's + Uncategorized


Bastille Bash July 13th, 2013

Bastille Bash 2013

In 2012 Chef Thierry Rautureau and Chef Nat Stratton-Clarke hosted Madison Valley’s first annual Bastille Bash. This year Madison Valley will hosting its second annual Bastille Bash on Saturday, July 13 from 3pm-8pm.

Last year Bastille Bash had an incredible turn out of more than 2,000 people and eventually sold out. Event organizers have had more time to plan this year and have expanded the event’s footprint on East Madison Street from 27th to 30th Avenue and down 29th off the main street.

 Madison Valley’s Bastille Bash will include French inspired food from some of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants, Northwest and French wine tastings, live music & entertainment, cooking demos from local chefs at the Viking Stage, burlesque dancers, mimes, and street actors.

This year you can find Luc serving dishes at two different booths!

Tickets to Bastille Bash can be purchased in advance from Brown Paper Tickets


File Under Events + Luc + Uncategorized


6/16 Joyeuse Fête Des Pères

Join us on Father’s Day, June 16th 2013 as the Chef In The Hat celebrates Luc’s 3rd birthday by sharing stories about his father, Luc whose namesake has brought forth new horizons in the family owned restaurants for over 25 years!

Chef Thierry remembers the best pork sausages were the ones from the grill with his dad in the French Countryside. To commemorate Luc’s 3rd birthday, we will be serving cake, champagne, and “Papa’s Sausage” in honor of Chef Thierry’s father.

The party starts at 4pm!

Please make reservations by phone

(206) 328-6645

$15 includes

Grilled Bread Salad, White Beans,”Papa’s Sausage”


A glass of house rosé or house red wine or a pint of draft beer

Cake and bubbles will be served at 5:30!

See you on Father’s Day for the Fête!

File Under Events + Luc


Date Night at LUC!

We are happy to announce that LUC is the first restaurant to partner with our neighbor Harbour Pointe Coffeehouse for the launch of Parent Date Night on Monday, May 13th from 6:30-8:30pm!

Parent Date Night is a new event on Monday nights that gives parents the chance to bring their children to Harbour Pointe Coffeehouse from 6:30-8:30pm, have a kid free dinner at LUC, and leave parents rest assured that their kids are well taken care of and nearby.

Zander Natallanni is the owner of Harbour Pointe Coffeehouse and has been a long time babysitter for kids of all ages. He is also a licensed CNA and has worked with children with autism. Natallani is also enlisting help from local nannies to ensure Parent Date Night is a success.

The coffee shop will close to the public at 6:30 when the kids arrive. The cost for one child is $25, and an additional $5 for each sibling within one family.

For more information please visit or call (206) 4201187

File Under Events + Luc + News + Uncategorized


LUC “Happy Weekend Special”

“Happy Weekend Special” for $20

Noon – to 4pm Saturday and Sunday Only           


Two Beignets, Two Quiche Bites, Two Pork Skewers

and Salad

with a choice of a

Mini Mary


Coupe De Sparkling Rose


16oz PBR

File Under Events + Luc


Mother’s Day Special at LUC!


Join us at LUC this Mother’s Day for a special Mother’s Day Dinner from 4:30pm – close!

3 course menu for $35!


Grilled Asparagus Mousseline


Soup Du Jour


Beets, Radishes, Yogurt, Hazelnuts, and Frisée


Lamb Shank, Spring Vegetables, and Almond Gremolata


Roasted Cauliflower, Lentil, Carrot, Parsnip, Vegetable Demi Spring Salad, with Harissa Vinaigrette


Wild Troll Caught King Salmon


Bavarian Rhubarb Sables Cookie


Chocolate Caramel Cake


Pot De Créme Hazelnut Cookie

Make your reservations today!

File Under Events + Luc


Rovers Closing Date Extended!

Kathy and I would like to thank you for your patronage and great support. Due to the overwhelming response, we are extending the closing date of Rover’s to Sunday, June 23rd!

We would also like to thank you for all the great stories and memories you have been sharing with us over the past few months. It is amazing to look back at all the wonderful things that have happened at Rover’s over the past 25 years.

See you this spring!

                                              -The Chef In The Hat ™

File Under News + Press + Rover's + Uncategorized


Seattle Restaurant Week at LUC!


Seattle Restaurant Week returns April 7 -11 & 14- 18! Make your reservations with LUC today! SRW Menu – $28 per person for 3 courses:

First Course

French Onion Soup
Boston Lettuce Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
Chicken Liver Mousse, Apple Gelée, and a toasted baguette

Second Course

Braised Pork Cheek, Mustard Greens, Parsnip Mash, and Au Jus
Steamed Mussels & Clams, Saffron Broth, and Rouille Crostini’s
Roasted Cauliflower, Lentils, Carrot, Vegetable Demi-glace, Harissa, and Spring Greens

Third Course

Chocolate Terrine and Blood Orange Caramel
Floating Island and Toasted Almond Brittle
Yogurt Bavarian, Confit Rhubarb, and Sablé Cookie


File Under Events + Luc + News


Feel the Love at LUC


Come celebrate Valentine’s Day at LUC!

In addition to our regular dinner menu, LUC will be offering a 3-Course Menu for $40 to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

This menu will be offered through Valentine’s Day weekend, from Thursday the 14th to Sunday the 17th.

For reservations please call 206.328.6645 or go online.



Three Courses at $40 Per Person



Smoked trout and mushroom croquette, tarragon aioli

Roasted beet, yogurt, hazelnut brown butter vinaigrette, frisée

Carrot soup, crème fraîche



  Scallop, green apple purée, watercress, lentils,
apple cider sauce

Pork cheek, parsnip, chard, butternut squash,
reduction of pan jus

Roasted cauliflower, lentils, parsnip purée, harissa vinaigrette



Chocolate terrine, blood orange caramel sauce

Ginger crème brulée, ginger crystals

Almond cake, cardamom anglaise, pomegranate syrup



filet mignon, béarnaise sauce, dutchess potato,
sautéed spinach

$60 as three course option



Je T’aime, sparkling cremant rosé, Limoux, FR

Domaine des Cassagnoles, Reserve Cuvée, Merlot

Domaine Astruc, Muscat

File Under Events + Luc


Valentine’s Day at Rover’s

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Valentine’s Day Menu*
Five Courses at $125 Per Person**
Wine Pairing and Reserve Wine Pairing Available


Amuse Bouche


Sea bass Crudo, White Sturgeon Caviar, Scallion Sauce
Kusshi Oyster, Ginger Gelée, Finger Lime


Seared Scallop, Wild Mushroom Potage, Black Truffle,
Roasted Parsnip


Quail Ballantine, Celery Root Gratin,
Almond-Coriander & Blood Orange Gremolata, Harissa Butter, Olive Gel


Wagyu Beef, Seared Foie Gras, Black Lentils, Arugula,
Pickled Salsify, Port-Currant Sauce


Symphony of Desserts


.*Menu items are subject to change due to the availability of ingredients.

**Price does not include wine, gratuity, or tax.


File Under Events + Rover's


02.03.2013: Happy Hour All Day

LUC will be offering Happy Hour all day on Superbowl Sunday in the bar and kitchen counter!  We are open at 12 pm!

File Under Luc + News


Rover’s New Hours!

We are pleased to annouced we will be extending new hours at Rover’s:

Tuesday – Thursday:  5:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Friday & Saturday: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Sunday: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm


File Under Uncategorized


Dear Friends of Rover’s

December 10, 2012
Seattle, WA 98112
Dear Friends of Rover’s:

After 25 years, Rover’s chapter is coming to an end in April.

Kathy and I are very grateful for all of you who have supported and shared with us some of your most precious moments over the years. Words are hard to find to thank all of you for believing in our vision and for your constant appreciation of our craft, so we will start with a big “Merci”!

Looking back at Rover’s ascent in the hospitality and culinary world over the years, it is still unbelievable, and even startling.

We have an enormous amount of gratitude for all the people who have participated in building this legacy, especially the customers, the employees and our purveyors.
We are turning over a new leaf, and we are moving onto exciting projects. We will keep you informed as things develop.

Sincerely Yours,

Thierry & Kathy Rautureau
Rover’s / LUC

PS: To correct some misinformation, here is a little clarification for all:
Rover’s is not moving; it is ending a 25 years legacy.
We are not putting Rover’s up for sale; we are turning the lights off.
LUC is not affected by these changes.
Yes, we are working on a new project we cannot talk about at this moment, but stay tuned with The Chef In the Hat….

File Under Uncategorized


Holiday Hours for The Chef in the Hat

Rover’s will be closed Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25.

We will also be closed Tuesday, January 1, Wednesday, January 2, & Thursday, January 3.

LUC will also be closed Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25.

We will also be closed Tuesday, January 1.

Rover’s & LUC will both closed Sunday, January 6.

Happy Holidays!

File Under Uncategorized


New Year’s Eve at Rover’s

We are now accepting reservations for New Year’s Eve at Rover’s.  Please call 206.325.7442 to make your reservation

New Year’s Eve Menu
December 31st, 2012
Amuse Bouche

Pickled Celery Root, Scallop Sashimi, Citrus Tea Gel, Nori crisp,
Salmon Pastrami, Fennel Sauerkraut, Rye Crisp, Tangerine Aioli

Smoked Duck Consommé, Winter Savory Tagliatelle, Duck Confit, Poached Quail Egg

Black Cod, Charred Cauliflower Gratin, Wilted Spinach, Black Truffle, Bacon Emulsion

Roasted Wagyu Beef, Back Trumpet Mushroom, Leek, and Olive Braise, Couscous, Red Wine Vinegar Demi, Espilette Oil

Symphony Of Desserts
Rum Baba, Stewed Pineapple, Rum Raisin Ice Cream
Eggnog Napoleon, Cream Cheese Short Dough, Ginger
Hot Chocolate Soufflé, Espresso Sauce

(Extra course included on 2nd seating menu / also available a la carte)
Butter Poached Maine Lobster, Roasted Parsnip, Blood Orange Maltaise Sauce

The Chef In The Hat’s Favorites
Seared Foie Gras, Daily Preparation -25
Scrambled Egg, White sturgeon Caviar, Lime Crème Fraîche -25
Butter Poached Maine Lobster, Roasted Parsnip, Blood Orange Maltaise Sauce -25See More


File Under Events + Rover's


11/23 Seasonal Cocktail ob- Sessions at LUC

Beginning November 23rd, LUC will be hosting daily bartending classes with Bartender Extraordinaire, Christophe Rougny. Each week Christophe will teach you the secrets of crafting that perfect cocktail featuring locally distilled spirits. Bites from The Chef in the Hat will be served.

::Class Schedule::

November 26-30: “Cranberry Liquor Cosmopolitan”
Vodka by Rain City Spirits
Clear Creek Cranberry Liquor

December 3-7: “French Mischief 75″
Mischief Gin

December 10-14: “Auld Lang Syne Fashioned”
Rye Woodinville Whiskey Co.

December 17-21: “Hot Spot Side Car”
Blue Flame Brandy

January 7-11: “Madison’s 15th to 28th Street Manhattan”
Oola Bourbon

January 14-18: “Island Fever Mojito”
Pacific Rum

Classes are from 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm, Monday – Friday

$50.00 per person
Parties of 6 or more will receive a 10% discount and
Parties of 12 or more will receive a 15% discount.

Call 206.328.6645 to reserve your spot!

File Under Events + Luc + News + Spirits


Rover’s Cooking & Wine Classes: The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

This popular class series is back for 2013.

Join Chef De Cuisine Rob Sevcik in the Kitchen, followed by a 3-course lunch and Wine presentation and tasting with Wine Director Scot Smith. All classes are from 10am to 1:30pm.

Class Schedule:

Saturday, January 26: “Basic Cheese Making & Cabernet Sauvignon”

Saturday, February 23: “Charcuterie and Smoking Meats & Pinot Noir”

Saturday, March 30: “Soup Crafting & Obscure Washington Wines”

Price: $125.00/person (includes class, lunch, wine, gratuity and tax)

To Reserve:

Call 206.325.7442. Pre-payment is required to reserve your space.
Space is very limited so make your reservations soon!

File Under Events + Rover's


11/15 – 12/2 Beaujolais Nouveau at LUC

Main Content Inline Small

According to French law passed in 1985, Beaujolais Nouveau may not be released until the clock strikes midnight on the third Thursday of November. This is a fruity and light-bodied wine grown from the Gamay grape. For those of you thinking ahead to Thanksgiving, this wine makes a wonderful pairing with turkey.

Beginning Novemmber 15,  join us at LUC and enjoy all the flavors Beaujolais Nouveau has to offer. We will be serving a special 3-course dinner ($35) with 2 Beaujolais Nouveau wine pairings. ($18)

File Under Events + Luc + Wine


09/3 – Vote for Rover’s for King5 Best of Western Washington Fine Dining

Voting will begin 9/3

Make us #1! Visit and Vote Rover’s as Best Fine Dining Restaurant in Seattle.

File Under Press + Rover's


9/19: 25 Years in 25 Bites Dinner

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Join Chef Thierry and Kathy as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary Celebrated in 25 Bites over 8-courses. Chef Thierry and the Rover’s Kitchen create a beautiful menu consisting of 25 different flavors (Bites!) that are enjoyed over an 8-Course tasting menu. As a tribute to our anniversary this type of menu format is only offered once a year and is truly an amazing experience!

25th Anniversary Menu $125/person*

Wine Pairing $75/person*

Reserve Wine Pairing $150/person*

This event begins at 6:30pm with passed Hors d’oeuvres and Champagne. Dinner to follow.

To make reservations for this event, please call 206.325.7442.

Space is limited.

Rover’s Celebrates 25 Years

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Amuse Bouche

Compressed Melon, Marinated Cheese Curd, Mint Foam

Hamachi Crudo, Chervil Salad, Dijon Oil

Squash Bisque, Poached Brown Butter Meringue

Rabbit Liver Pâté, Port Gelée

First Course

Scrambled Egg, Lime Crème Fraîche, White Sturgeon Caviar

Oyster, Caviar, Cucumber Cream

Poached Mackerel, Fennel, Crème Fraîche, Caviar

Second Course

Smoked Salmon, Daikon Radish, Quail Egg

Foie Gras Torchon, Brioche, Sauternes Aspic

Clam, Cured Duck, Clam Jus

Third Course

Scallop Fritter, Tarragon Aioli

Prawn Cake, Grilled Eggplant, Tomato Jam

Lobster & Corn Chowder, Basil, Cured Pork Belly

Fourth Course

Baked Cod, Honey Sesame Glaze, Sweet Potato Puree

Sole Roulade, Mussels, Chard, Saffron

Halibut, Sage Gremolatta, Tomato Salad

Fifth Course

Veal Sweetbread- Foie Gras Sausage, Flageolet Bean Puree, Sherry Reduction

Seared Foie Gras, Roasted Plum, Honey Sauce

Foie Gras Flan, Apple Cider Sauce

Sixth Course

Quail Ballantine, Roasted Parsnip, Currant Sauce

Smoked Guinea Fowl, Mustard Greens, Potato Rissole

Roasted Rabbit, Chanterelle Mushroom, Sage Sauce


Main Course

Venison, Potato Risotto, Yellow Pepper Sauce

Squab Breast, Salsify Dolmade, Verjus Sauce

Iberico Pork, Sautéed Spinach, Apricot, Lovage Sauce


Hazelnut-Mascarpone Gateau, Frangipane, Huckleberry

Genoise Aux Pommes, Candied Apple, Milk Jam, Apple Sorbet

Dark Chocolate Pot de Crème, Plum, Meringue

*Price does not include gratuity or tax.


File Under Events + Rover's


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