Chef Renee Erickson pictured with her dog, Arlo. Image Courtesy of Renee Erickson. Photo credit: Eva Kolenko.

Chef FeaturesSeattle

15 Questions with Chef Renee Erickson


Chef Renee Erickson

Chef, Author, and Owner of Sea Creatures Concepts

Renee Erickson is one of the country’s most acclaimed chefs. As the owner of Sea Creatures Concepts, a restaurant group that includes The Whale Wins, Walrus & Carpenter, Barnacle Bar, Bar Melusine, Bateau, and General Porpoise Doughnut & Coffee, Chef Erickson shares her love of the Pacific Northwest, and has single-handedly transformed her hometown into one of the most exciting places to dine in the country.

Erickson has established a refined yet casual style that honors and appreciates simple beauty, and can be enjoyed at any of her restaurants or at home through her cookbook: “A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus: Menus and Stories.

Image Courtesy of Renee Erickson.

Why Seattle? 
Seattle is home. Always has been.

Could you live anywhere else?
I think I could live in other spots, [I’m] just not sure how I can at this time. I dream plenty with part-time living in Normandy, South of France, and Rome. For now, I will happily travel all I can.

What inspires you?
My staff.  I learn so much from them and feel so proud. Watching how they work and seeing how they create – their passion for excellence is truly inspiring.

What’s your earliest food memory?
I have lots of memories eating fish and chips at Spuds – sitting outside on the round fiberglass tables trying to keep the seagulls away from my chips.

Current restaurant crush.
Spring [in London]. Amazing space, elegant, yet classic, food.  Just right in my mind.

Best ice cream in Seattle?
Kurt Farm Shop! No question.

Late-night food of choice?
Cacio e pepe at home.

Favorite travel destination (and restaurant there)?
I have many favorites, including London and Rome. Spring (London),  St. John Smithfield (London), Antico al Forno (Rome), Roscioli (Rome) are some of my favorites.

Secret guilty pleasure?
Not-so-secret rosé and potato chips.

Everyday go-to…
Pizza and salad at Delancey with my husband, Dan.

Favorite Seattle restaurants right now?
Bar MelusineThe Whale Wins, Upper Bar Ferdinand, Marmite, Little Uncle.

Best local desserts?
Molly’s cookie at Delancey and Essex, Canele at Bar Melusine (with Skippers dark rum!), really anything from Amandine Bakeshop, peanut butter cookie from Dahlia Bakery, and strawberry ice cream from Kurt Farm Shop.

Must-visit cocktail locales?
Barnacle Bar, Foreign National, Stateside, Essex, and Canlis.

Best burgers?
Bateau, Bar Melusine, Essex, Bramling Cross, and Palace Burger.

Top 5 Restaurants for visitors?
Walrus & CarpenterSpinasse, Maneki, Delancey, and Upper Bar Ferdinand.

Discover More

Photo courtesy of The London Plane

The Hit List

The October Hit List: The London Plane, Nishino, New Luck Toy, and More

Photo courtesy of Wooden City

The Hit List

The September Hit List: The Dressing Room, Wooden City, Cafe Racer, and More

Photo courtesy of Crabtree Kitchen

The Hit List

The August Hit List: Communion, Samara, Crabtree, Pho Bac, and More

Photo courtesy of Copine

The Hit List

The July Hit List: Copine, Black Bottle, Homer, Taurus Ox, and More

New on Resy

Now Open on Resy: Homer, Harry’s Beach House, Oddfellows, and More

Courtesy of Shinya Shokudo

The Hit List

The June Hit List: Communion, Shinya Shokudo, Finch & Pine, and More

Courtesy of the Corson Building

The Hit List

The May Hit List: Il Nido, Nishino, The Corson Building, Samara, and More

New on Resy

Now Open on Resy: Fog Room, Communion, The Octopus Bar, and More

Chef JJ Proville. // Courtesy of L'Oursin

The Road Back

Shellfish Towers, Comfort Food, and Dreams of Normal: How L’Oursin Is Making Things Work

Dining with a view — and then some — as The Fisherman's comes to the Great Wheel.

The Hit List

The April Hit List: London Plane, The Fisherman’s, Marination Ma Kai, and More

Bruce Naftaly keeps making simplicity dazzle at Marmite.

The Hit List

The March Hit List, Lunch Edition: Old Salt, Marmite, Remedium Island Grill, and More

Courtesy Harvest Vine

The Hit List

The February Hit List: The Mountaineering Club, Chengdu Taste, Harvest Vine, and More

Lady Jaye will have the smoker going straight through winter.

The Hit List

The January Hit List: Communion, Hitchcock Burgerhaus, Lady Jaye, and More

Salish Lodge's bûche de Noël. // Photo courtesy of Salish Lodge


The Resy Guide to Holiday Desserts and Pastries in Seattle