What Makes Renee Erickson's Restaurants a Success?

Renee Erickson in the kitchen | thewhalewins.com

Renee Erickson in the kitchen | thewhalewins.com

Renee Erickson is the James-Beard nominated chef and owner of four wildly successful and different restaurants in Seattle, including The Walrus, The Whale Wins, Barnacle, and Boat Street Cafe.

So what started it all? Well, Erickson never intended to have a career in the restaurant world. She is not a classically trained chef and started as a waiter at the French restaurant, Boat Street Cafe. At age 24, the original owner of Boat Street Cafe asked her to take over the business. With a group effort from some of Erickson's friends and family, the restaurant was remodeled in one weekend. It reopened looking completely different and the rest is history.

So what makes her a successful restaurateur?

  • She picks her staff carefully and trains them in a hands-on approach to make sure they are the right fit for the restaurant team.  
  • The selected ingredients from the farmer's market determine the menus.
  • By wearing multiple hats: even though she now spends her time managing the restaurants instead of cooking in the back of the house, she will still step in to help if the restaurant is short-staffed.

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