One of the South Sound's top summer parties is about to kick off. The annual Taste of Tacoma gets underway tomorrow, Friday June 22, at Point Defiance Park. There will be food, beer, wine, music and more - including a showcase for some of the areas best restaurants and chefs.
I took a ride to the T-Town to meet one of them.
It sits on 6th Ave. in Tacoma - one of the hottest restaurants in the South Sound - The Table. It's a space for delicious food and decor.
"We wanted to build a chandelier that's nice and unique," said Chef Derek Bray. "So it's actually from 1902. It's an old fire ladder, so the two pieces are from the same ladder. My dad and I constructed it."
Bray is the man behind the fire, a local guy who started his culinary career years ago at 'The Coug', the iconic bar near Washington State University.
"I loved working at The Coug," said Bray. "I actually stayed a whole extra semester after I graduated and just worked and - you know - you can't find a better, more enjoyable place to be than a bar in a college town."
Bray showed me one of The Table's signature dishes - a halibut with asparagus succotash, morel mushroom and ricotta gnocchi mac and cheese.
He's passionate about his craft, but you'll quickly find out he cares just as much about people as he does about the. halibut he whips up every night. Whenever he can he gives back to the community, starting years ago managing a homeless shelter kitchen in Tacoma.
"My wife and I always say our life is pretty blessed, so we should really be giving back to our community for people less fortunate," he said.
Chef will be giving back again at the Taste of Tacoma this weekend. He'll be competing against other local chefs in "The Taste Cooks", a "Chopped-style" culinary throw-down. And he's serving up some delicious eats form The Table as part of South Sound Bites.
Five courses, from five top restaurants at a reasonable price. The best part? The proceeds support Emergency Food Network. It's a great way to give back, and experience the South Sound food scene.