At The Market Chef, we are committed to cooking handmade, locally grown, and delicious food from scratch. From the bread we bake fresh every morning for our signature sandwiches, to the entrees, sides, and salads filling our daily revolving deli case, everything we make is defined by the very best meat, seafood, produce, and pantry staples we procure from island farmers and fishermen.
Our restaurant’s concept sprung from an idea Laurie launched at the San Juan Island Farmer’s Market in 2004, where she cooked new and unusual varieties of vegetables, served right next to the farmers who grew them. Together, farmer and chef worked with a single mission: to delight the tastebuds of our neighbors. Using the most excellent flavors imaginable, we educated customers how raw ingredients could be transformed through simple cooking techniques into something new and delicious.
Little did we realize how valuable farmers and our early customers would find this service. This was the time before arugula was a staple in homes and on every menu; indeed few people had any idea what it was or what you could do with it. Mache, gai lan, countless varieties of Asian greens and niche varieties would wilt on farmers’ market tables in the hot summer sun and have to be boated back to growers’ homes on Waldron Island or turned into compost.
It was then that we knew our destiny no longer lay in the fine dining kitchens and dining rooms we had been working in. We were inspired to create a place where we could bring all people together around the very best local food rooted in our community. When a local bagel shop went out of business and asked us if we were interested in taking over the lease, The Market Chef’s brick and mortar location was born. Eighteen years later, we are still inspired by the integrity, drive, and commitment of our island’s agricultural community. The farmers we work with are our business partners and the foundation of the work we are so lucky to do.