Though organic cuisine is all the rage now, there was a time when chefs simply went for whatever ingredients were cheapest without much thought given to how those ingredients were sourced. Fortunately for us, Maria Hines has pioneered the organic food movement that’s so common in today’s kitchens. Based in Seattle, Maria was also a notable proponent of Washington Initiative 522, a proposed piece of legislation that would have required that genetically modified foods were labeled as such; unfortunately, the measure did not pass, but Maria’s commitment to good, honest food has earned her a place on this list.
Maria has appeared on “Iron Chef America,” “Top Chef Masters” and “Martha”; in addition to her television appearances, Maria has also been recognized twice by the James Beard Foundation, first winning “Best Chef: Northwest” in 2009, and as a semi-finalist for “Outstanding Chef” in 2013. Maria is also the head of Maria Hines Restaurants, a restaurant consortium consisting of Tilth, Golden Beetle and Agrodolce, and each of her restaurants has made a steadfast commitment to using certified organic ingredients in its dishes. With someone like Maria leading the charge, pretty soon we’ll all be eating only the freshest, most natural ingredients.
Specialties & Resources
At Tilth, Maria’s focus is on New American cuisine, and though the ingredients may seem less complicated than those at some of the other restaurants we’ve covered, by using all-natural organic ingredients, Maria is able to draw out flavors that might otherwise lie dormant. Offerings at Tilth include smoked tuna pate with pickles, radishes and crackers; roasted celery root salad with mixed greens, hazelnut and maple-espresso vinaigrette; root vegetable soup with kale, pickled carrot and apple puree; green chickpea flan with roasted grape, lemon puree and fried chickpea; house-made gnocchi with arugula pistou, cherry tomato and pine nut; seared albacore tuna with charred romaine, egg, and anchovy vinaigrette; salmon a la plancha with corn cream, zucchini, and sorrel vinaigrette; and pork belly with roasted delicate, fennel and apple.
At Agrodolce, Maria focuses more on Italian cuisine, with dishes such as crispy polenta fries with spicy pepper aioli and grana Padano; ricotta cavatelli with grilled summer beans, olive and hot pepper tapenade and sweet onion; mafalde with wild mushroom and fennel ragu, oregano and cream; durum spaghetti & clams with castelvetrano olive, pickled chili and fresh mint, and red wheat rigatoni with marinara, peppers and grana Padano.