Elise Landry wins “Chopped Next Gen”

As a contestant and winner on the first season of the Food Network’s show “Chopped Next Gen,” Elise Landry became the chef on everyone’s mind in Olympia almost overnight. Her new restaurant, Chicory, which she co-owns and runs with her husband Adam Wagner, went from just getting open to having to close down online orders to focus on in-restaurant diners in a time when most restaurants were struggling to make it during the COVID-19 health restrictions. 

“It’s been amazing. We’ve had such support from the community,” noted Landry when I caught up with her on a warm summer Monday watering the plants in the restaurant. “In a small, tight-knit town like Olympia, not only does everyone feel connected, but there is already a deep appreciation for sustainable and locally sourced food. We felt like we fit in.”

Growing up in Kansas City, Landry loved her upbringing and region, but wanted to be closer to nature. After a quick scouting trip to the PNW, the couple retrofitted a motorhome, drove West, and spent two summers working in restaurants on Orcas Island. The dream was to open a restaurant of their own and everything came into alignment just when the pandemic hit. 

The process of opening Chicory started long before the pandemic and included navigating new building owners, leases, small business loans, and lots of renovations. Landry shared that, for a while, every day began by watching YouTube demonstrations and learning by doing. From hanging drywall to replacing a water heater, they had to figure it out. “There was no turning back.”

Veterans of many restaurants and kitchens, Landry and Wagner see Chicory as a platform to talk about sustainability and food systems, but also to rewrite the rules and create a truly healthy work environment for staff. “We want to create a place where our staff feels respected and valued.” 

They are walking the talk. In addition to showing care by baking a staff member’s favorite cookie on their birthday, bigger changes have been made at Chicory. Instead of customers leaving tips for their individual server, a 20% service fee is added to the bill which is shared by all employees. This new norm shifts some of the financial inequities experienced by all staff in the restaurant industry and has become common practice in restaurants in major metropolitan centers like Seattle and San Francisco, but has yet to be more widely adopted. In addition, they will be offering a special class with a personal trainer to learn stretching exercises to help alleviate some of the physical stress created by restaurant work. “It’s important to encourage both physical and mental health for our staff,” noted Landry. 

As she finished up watering the plants, Landry paused. “We have amazing light in the restaurant in the mornings when we are closed. I can just imagine a floor of yoga mats and potentially offering wellness classes to others in the restaurant industry,” she said. It might be a dream right now, but this next-generation chef is about more than an amazing menu or time in the spotlight. With Chicory, she is here to change restaurants one small step at a time. Hilary Ryan

Team — CHICORY (chicoryrestaurant.com)

Oldest Working Nurse in America Hangs Up Her Scrubs After 70 Years

More than 70 years after her career began, 96-year-old Florence “SeeSee” Rigney, the oldest working nurse in America, is retiring, MultiCare Health System announced today.  Her last day was Friday, July 16, 2021.

“I don’t like to sit around – I’ve always got to have something to do. That’s my nature,” Rigney’s said. “I don’t know exactly what made me want to become a nurse, but it was something that I always wanted to do. I love to interact with patients and give them the help that I can.”

In her retirement, she’s looking forward to enjoying her family and friends. Rigney’s witnessed countless changes and medical innovations since she first put on the white uniform of a student nurse in the Tacoma General School of Nursing. And her legacy will live on to inspire the next generation of nurses.

In appreciation for her service to the nursing profession, MultiCare Health System is establishing the SeeSee Rigney Nursing Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarships to MultiCare nurses for continued learning and development and for MultiCare employees who would like to pursue a career in nursing.

“Even working into her nineties, SeeSee has never been one to slow down. Some of her colleagues joked that they had to sprint to keep up with her,” said Laureen Driscoll, president of MultiCare Tacoma General and Allenmore Hospitals. “She’s continued to be a dedicated nurse and an incredible resource to her colleagues and community. It’s humbling to stop and think about the thousands and thousands of lives she’s cared for. Everyone at MultiCare thanks SeeSee for her unmatched dedication and service, and we’re proud to honor her by supporting tomorrow’s future nurses.”

Her career has taken her across the country, from Washington to Texas to Wyoming, with small breaks to care for her family. Rigney has two children.  As an operating room nurse, Rigney was responsible setting up operating rooms to the specifications of surgeons and prepping patients for surgery, such as positioning them on the operating table. During her shifts, she was always active, frequently walking more than three miles or more according to her Fitbit. And she was always the first to jump to a task. When and pregnant nurse made a call to hospital nurses to help her move a patient, Rigney, in her nineties, was the first to show up.

Rigney did try to slow down once. When she was 65, she turned in her retirement papers. But that only lasted for about six months. She knew she needed to get back in action to stay sharp and active. She came back to Tacoma General to work full time and only within the last couple years switched to part time, continuing to prep surgery rooms and patients, part time. She worked again as an operating room nurse, preparing rooms for surgery and filling in as a relief nurse.

When Rigney started nursing, penicillin had just been introduced. One of the biggest changes in medicine that she’s seen is the duration of patient stays. In the old days, she said, patients could stay for 10 days or longer after surgery. Now most go home in a day or two, thanks to advances in modern medicine and in-home care options.

In a career spanning 70 years, you pick up quite a bit of knowledge and Rigney has some to share with future nurses.

“Don’t ever think that you know it all,” she said. “I kind of did that when I was in the operating room and you have to always be open. You never stop learning.”

LeMay Motorcycle Days

LeMay Motorcycle DaysMotorcycle Days


June 19


LeMay Marymount


325 152nd Street East, Tacoma


253.272.2336 | lemaymarymount.org


The event features an indoor display of more than 200 vintage and specialty motorcycles, Kids events like Bouncy houses and a climbing wall, Vendors for all your motorcycle needs, and a beer garden. On Saturday, see the National AHRMA-sanctioned vintage motorcycle trials, Motorcycle Soccer exhibition game, and performance by the Seattle Cossacks Stunt Motorcycle Drill Team. On Sunday, join us at the LeMay Century of Sounds: an exhibition of Vintage motorcycles, a benefit ride for Soldiers home and ice cream social afterward, and take a look at Siege’s Racing Motorcycle Show!



Beer Bash for Dad

Beer Bash for Dad


June 18


Linnea’s at Hawks Prairie


6715 Martin Way East, Lacey


360.789.1112 | ShopLinneas.com | Facebook.com/LinneasDreamLacey


Come on in to Linnea’s to celebrate father’s day!

Tips to Design an Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens are gaining popularity. They are a great way to extend your living space and maximize your outdoor space. There are many details to consider, so take your time in the design and planning. Alinda Morris of Alinda Morris Interior Design, LLC offers her tips.


Consider how you will use the space and how you want it to function. Encourage a relationship with the indoor space. All of the areas in your home should work together so it makes sense that the outdoor kitchen should be a natural extension of your interior and other outdoor entertaining spaces.

When designing any kitchen, start with the layout and appliances. There are lots of outdoor appliances to consider; if you want an easy outdoor cleanup option, think about investing in a sink and dishwasher. Utility drawers and mini refrigerators make storage and entertaining easy.

Do not limit yourself! Think about adding fun features (if you think you will use them) like a smoker or pizza oven. Make sure your appliances are rated for outdoor use — that means they can withstand freezing temperatures and extreme heat.


You will need to consider what materials are the best fit for your project. Is your outdoor kitchen covered or open to the elements? Here in the Pacific NW, we experience a variety of weather including world-record winter snows, the strongest non-tropical storms in the nation, and lots of rain, moisture and humidity. All of these factors will affect the integrity of materials used in your outdoor selections, especially your cabinetry, so consider this in detail.

Stainless steel is a good material to use for outdoor kitchen cabinets as it likely matches your grill and outdoor appliances, and it is weather- and bug-proof.

If you love the look of a painted cabinet, you can use a powder coated finish. The powder coating process provides a strong defense against corrosion. It is also a durable finish to protect cabinet doors and drawers from chips, spills, stains and unsightly fingerprints.

There are a few species of wood that can perform incredibly well in outdoor environments like teak, but any wood cabinet will require maintenance.

For a completely custom outdoor cabinet on a budget, you can use prefab stainless cabinets and set them in a natural or pre-cast architectural brick and stone veneer; stone is also highly weather-resistant.

Countertop materials such as concrete and natural stone are both durable and decorative. Concrete is porous and will capture stains and continue to patina over time. Granite works great outdoors, but marble may not. Most engineered stone is not recommended for outdoor applications. It is non-porous, but the process used to color and seal this engineered stone can fade and discolor significantly in direct sunlight.

Pulling it all Together

When selecting materials for your outdoor space and adding the finishing touches like furniture or a fire pit, you want to create balance with the interior and exterior color palette. You can add texture like stone, concrete, and more natural products but they should all work together to create the story you are trying to tell. This is the trick to creating a seamless yet stunning exterior space.

For Additional Information
@alindamorris on Instagram


Expressions at Olympic Alzheimers

Caring for a loved one living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can take a toll. From their safety to their ability to relate to people around them, those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia are seeing their worlds change around them, and they are often unsure how to process it.

If it’s time to consider specialized care for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, Olympic Alzheimer’s Residence boasts Prestige Senior Living’s award-winning Expressions memory care program. Expressions uses innovative techniques and approaches to turn daily activities into memorable and meaningful events.

By placing an emphasis on community as a vital part of the Expressions experience and fostering friendships among residents, Olympic Alzheimer’s helps residents find value and purpose.

Expressions is founded on five key principles used every day to engage residents’ minds, bodies and souls:

HEALTHY EXPRESSIONS: Exercise and physical activity are shown to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia, so the program focuses on regular physical expression, which they recommend twice a day.

TASTY EXPRESSIONS: In addition to nutrition, food also provides a chance for socialization and opportunities to reminisce about favorite foods and recipes. It is a wonderful way to stimulate the senses.

ARTISTIC EXPRESSIONS: Tapping into our creative side is important to a fulfilling life – and the program encourages residents to find their passion in arts, poetry and music. In fact, research has established that those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias often experience a spike in creativity.

EDUCATIONAL EXPRESSIONS: Residents are encouraged to continue their path of lifelong learning. Even those who are forgetful still enjoy the experience of learning.

SPIRITUAL EXPRESSIONS: Residents are provided with activities that develop inner peace through their own spiritual journey, which means different things to different people. It could be through a higher being, or an experience of awe, focused attention, or mental discipline.

If the time is right to consider specialized care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, Olympic Alzheimer’s Residence has the programs in place to provide a comforting and fulfilling life while caring for your loved one’s physical and emotional needs.

Olympic Alzheimer’s Residence is located in Gig Harbor, just one mile from Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Their quiet surroundings provide a peaceful sanctuary for their residents.

For Additional Information
prestigecare.com | 253.851.5306

Gig Harbor’s Lele Thai & Vietnamese Food

When Lele started her first restaurant twenty years ago, she knew she wanted to create a place where she and her family could work together and gather. That tradition is still in full swing at Lele in Uptown Gig Harbor, where she serves authentic Thai and Vietnamese dishes using her own family recipes.

A Vietnamese refugee from Saigon, Lele opened her first restaurant in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma focusing on dishes from her homeland. The restaurant was an oasis for her community.

Over the course of twenty years, Lele has opened and closed several restaurants, but she holds on to the Gig Harbor location. Familyowned
and operated, most evidenced with Lele’s mother as the head cook, Lele’s provides a taste of Southeast Asia in every bite.

According to Lele, “My mother was the head cook in a restaurant in Tacoma when we decided to open our own restaurant using her family recipes.”

Some of those recipes include many of the most popular items on the menu. Saigon Crepes, a savory pancake stuffed with fresh vegetables and meats; Phanaeng Curry, a flavorful and slightly sweet dish; Tom Kha, a thick and creamy soup that tastes like curry; and, of course, Pad Thai, stir fried noodles with tamarind sauce, are just a few of the specialties.

Featuring a full bar with high top tables, the upscale atmosphere at Lele is perfect for a date night. But when you visit, don’t expect a fast food experience. With a small kitchen and food that is lovingly prepared, your meal will be more elegantly paced. Your patience will be rewarded with authentic tastes of the family’s homeland.

Like so many businesses and restaurants during the pandemic, Lele is building back her clientele and staff. “I am always looking for quality people to work with me who share my values of loving and caring for our customers,” said Lele recently.

The realities of the pandemic could have been much worse for Lele and her family had it not been for the kind owner of Uptown Gig Harbor, John Hogan. “Always offering assistance, Mr. Hogan is the kind of landlord everyone wishes they had,” Lele said proudly.

Lele Gig Harbor
4747 Point Fosdick Drive, Suite 200, Gig Harbor

LeMay Valve Cover Races

LeMay Valve Cover RacesValve Cover Races


May 29


LeMay Marymount


325 152nd Street East, Tacoma


253.272.2336 | lemaymarymount.org


This “just-for-fun” free event is open to all ages.

Here’s what to do:

Find an engine valve cover.
Add wheels
Decorate your valve cover
Race it!

Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock & Roll

Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock & RollNeil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock & Roll


May 23, 7:30pm


Tacoma Arts Live


901 Broadway, Tacoma


253.591.5894 | tacomaartslive.org


Neil Berg shares the 50-year history of the phenomenon that changed the world forever. Five singers and a five-piece band recreate rock’s greatest songs. Berg adds a narrative of little-known and surprising stories. Included in the celebration are Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Frankie Valli, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, The Who, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel, Carole King, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Aerosmith, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, and more. Travel through 50 years of rock ’n’ roll music!

The Center Salon

The Center Salon


May 22, 7:30pm


Washington Center Black Box Theater


512 Washington St. SE, Olympia


360.753.8586 | washingtoncenter.org


This popular event is like nothing else in Olympia and will sell out fast! Our 5th annual Salon draws you in to an inner circle of poets, authors, musicians, and artists. 2020 features Jim Lynch, Sadi Sparks, Zhang Er, Alec Clayton, and Bryan Willis.