Chef Holly, 2012 Celebrity Chef

If you want to know why Chef Holly Smith loves cooking in Washington, blame it on the rain.

Bad weather by the rest of the world’s standards pays rich dividends for her delicious ideas. With recipes inspired by plentiful crops of fresh tomatoes, juicy nectarines, wild watercress, fragrant herbs, tender chanterelles and fish from local waters available year round in the Pacific Northwest, Smith is in a constant state of culinary creativity. This bounty of local, wild ingredients form the delicious menu at Café Juanita, her restaurant in Kirkland.

“We are so fortunate here in Washington. I have friends who are chefs all over the country and they are so impressed with our great fresh food. Wild food comes just out of the ground right into the restaurants. In terms of flavor, quality and price, it’s outstanding,” said Smith.

Nicknamed “Chef Holly” by friends, fans and foodies alike, she cooks with a commitment to using organics, promoting sustainability, and sourcing the freshest local food. “Access to great food—the farms and meats and artisan producers—is exploding out there. People across the world are recognizing the importance of an ingredient. I have been in great restaurants in New York, and I’ve seen some of their produce. What we have here is really special.”

Invited to be the 2012 Celebrity Chef at the third annual Gig Harbor Wine and Food Festival along the historic waterfront on July 14, Smith will be doing tasty food demos, participating in an Iron Chef style cook-off and attending the VIP dinner where guests can pick up tips from her in person.

“I love the energy that Chef Holly brings to our event,” said the festival’s event director Victoria Trimmer. “With her dedication to locally produced ingredients, she is a perfect ambassador for our unique food and wine culture in the Puget Sound region.”

Festival highlights include wine tastings, educational seminars, cooking demos and book signings by chefs and authors. The event is presented by the Gig Harbor Historic Waterfront Association.

TAMMY ROBACKER

For more information: harborwineandfoodfest.com