Two specials tonight. Kurabuto pork loin w/ braised fennel and white bean purée and fried polenta. Also a grilled swordfish dish w/ sautéed Yukon potatoes, picketed watermelon, fennel and watermelon radish salad and a burre roux sauce.
We sat down with Chef Stefan Reynolds to ask him questions about his life and work career so we could all get to know him a little better.
Chef, where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Washington and have never left. I was born in Ellensburg, then spent my childhood in Yakima. I lived there until I came to Spokane in 2006.
How did you get started in the business? The Culinary school route or the more typical “I started as a dishwasher” route?
I started as a dishwasher. I needed a job and got one through a friend at a stir fry joint as a dishwasher. I worked my way up through bars and kitchens. I went through all the positions over time within the kitchen as well as increasingly nicer restaurants. I quickly realized how much I loved the service industry. I love creating something out of raw ingredients and then other people get it, like they understood my vision.
Where did you get your training? Who were some of your influences?
I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do through all the people I’ve worked with in the past. Some great teachers. I picked up my own style over those years. People like Josh Davidson, Ramiro Chavez, Dave Hill at Hill’s, Tina Luerson at Scout. Joe Morris, Deb Rillera, Eric Biandi, and Howard Bateman at Luna were heavily influential. Rest in Peace Anthony Bourdaine. Sleep well.
There were many places I learned from, but I have the greatest memories from the team at Luna. We created some great food back then. It was like a culinary think tank. I was offered a sous chef role and flourished. After that I realized I belonged in the kitchen, there is no other place for me.
I left Luna for the Double Tree hotel, to be Executive Sous for the hotel and then was promoted to the Chef at Spencer’s for Steaks & Chops. I was there for the last three years.
How would you describe your food style?
It’s hard to say. I appreciate traditions but love to experiment. I would say in general it’s contemporary American with some French and Mediterranean influences.
What’s the most exciting dish you can recall eating?
I was most proud of a scallop dish I made with a carrot and lemon emulsion, Romanesco, beet chip, and coral tuile. The dish I’ve eaten and can never get out of my mind was a lamb cassoulet that Eric had made at Luna; Also shout out to Howard and the yellow cheese pizza with the scorpion pepper bacon.
Duck anyway I can get it.
What do you do on your time away from the kitchen?
I try to spend time with my wife as much as I can. We love to travel, check out new breweries & restaurants, and take the dogs hiking. I also like to lift weights, play guitar & ukulele, garden, and play video games.
What cookbooks are on your shelf?
A few, but their not really cook-books so to speak. I have gained reassurance as a cook through medium raw and kitchen confidential by Anthony Bourdaine. I was told by one of my influences that I was too creative to be influenced in a linear way(via recipes). Eric Biondi suggested a book called ‘Ratios,’ and it is probably the best purchase I’ve made culinarily beside my knives.
Favorite way to cook an egg?
I love to be able to turn them into a sauce. No matter what you do just don’t overcook it.
What do you cook at home on your nights off?
I don’t. My wife cooks for me.
Stop in sometime and say hello and stay tuned for some new creations soon.
Trying out a new clam dish appetizer. Fresh live littleneck clams from Washington with a sauce of tangerine wheat beer, summer squash and burnt orange peels.
Meet our new Chef. Stefan Reynolds. Stefan comes to us from Spencer’s Steak & Chop and also previously from Luna. We will be posting an interview with him shortly so you can get to know him and what inspires his creativity.
Yesterday we got some fresh halibut in along with a box of incredibly beautiful oyster mushrooms from Sasquatch Sous https://m.facebook.com/SasquatchSousMushies/ . Chef put together his first special last night. It was a pan seared halibut with a fish broth on celery root puree and a side of confit pancetta, arugula, oyster mushrooms and fried leeks. All the components went together so nicely. The delicate and balanced broth complimented the delicate fish and left room for the taste of the mushrooms and arugula’s taste to come out. Delicious!
Some of our regulars and even our staff worry about a new chef coming in. What’s going to change? “We can’t take off the Cubano or the piccata!” Well, any Chef that takes pride in his work will eventually want to make the menu more of his own. Chef Stefan also realizes the popularity of our items and will respect what the guests want. You will slowly see new items, maybe some changes to older items, but overall you can still expect and trust that whatever you order from us, you will still get the same (or better) quality and taste experiences you’ve come to trust from Craft & Gather. We are excited for what’s to come.
It was always our goal since we started planning this place to be the best restaurant in the Valley. Wherever we fall on that scale currently, we will never be satisfied and will strive to be better every day. Keep following us for what we are up to. And always feel free to write us with your feedback and suggestions.
Thank you Spokane Valley!
Our Sous Chef Kayleigh came up with this beaut today - pan seared halibut (just butchered an hour ago) w/ coconut lime rice, sautéed spinach, pineapple mango salsa and an avocado purée. Delicious for the warm weather.
Since we’ve opened we’ve had big plans for our patio. Our long term vision is to have a beautiful covered patio area with a stage for music, fun lawn games and a one of a kind space for events in the valley. Of course all of that takes a ton of money, which we didn’t have. Little by little we will get there.
The first step was to install irrigation for the lawn and then plant the seed. That happened last year and it came out beautifully. This year we are installing four 4x9’ gas fire pit tables. With the digging, installing and custom made tables, it is costing a lot of money. It is also taking longer than anticipated waiting for contractors to show up. They will be stunning!
After that we will build a stage for this summer hoping to have some great music for all to enjoy. Hang out at tables for a meal or grab a blanket and sit on the lawn with a drink and listen. This will be made available for the whole family to enjoy. Something you can’t often find around here.
Next year we hope to build a cover to protect everyone from the sun, rain or cold. We are in it for the long haul and you can watch us grow along the way. It’s going to be such a fun space to hang out in the summer time!
Meanwhile, our side patio is open to enjoy the outdoors. In a few weeks, the main patio should be open.
We’ve been blessed at Craft & Gather. We just turned two last month and we have had absolutely the best teams we could hope for since day one. One of those people is our Chef Steve Jensen.
Steve was our very first hire. Joining us before the paint dried and any equipment was installed. He helped us setup the restaurant, develop menus and create what has become the culture of our little neighborhood joint in the middle of seemingly no where that not many people knew existed. That has all changed today.
We went from a restaurant that was an unknown to a restaurant that is busting at the seams most nights. Our thousands of followers on social media media checking in daily to get a glimpse of what Steve is cooking up. Many just order the specials without asking knowing it’s going to be kick ass. His knowledge of food and food science is far deeper than we ever needed to know. Ask him a question and next thing you know he’s diagramming something on stainless steel. With the PNW being his home, he helped us create exactly what we were looking for Craft & Gather to be. All that and he’s also a very good natured soul that’s easy to work with and a pleasure to be around.
I write this to celebrate and thank Steve for his accomplishments during his time with us. Steve has an opportunity to further his chef career and sadly Friday will be his last shift. So stop in Thursday or Friday to wish him well, eat some food and toast him off. (FYI, he loves whiskey and bacon.)
Thank you Steve for everything you have given us!
You can follow Steve on instagram @chefstevejensen to see what he’s up to next.
Meanwhile, C&G will continue on and forward. Steve has built a great team that can execute his vision forward. We also have a new Chef joining us soon. Stay tuned for details.
this fish is delicious this season! It’s chili pan-seared Alaskan halibut with cilantro lime and black beans and rice, garlic sautéed arugula and topped with a mango-avocado salsa and cilantro oil
This weeks Friday Night Special: pan roasted duck breast over Moroccan sliced black lentils w/grilled asparagus and roasted almonds.
Tonight’s special: puttanesca pappardelle w/ shrimp, smoked salmon, halibut and clams. You want this!
Tonight’s delicious special
Tonight’s special is a shrimp and clam seafood stew. Delicious!
New salad in the menu: thai curry saladspring mix lettuces, shredded carrots, cucumbers, celery, almonds w/ a green curry cilantro dressing.
Tonight’s special: house made bacon wrapped around a filet mignon with a pan seared scallop, mushroom herbed risotto & grilled asparagus. #mmm
and we have some great specials for you. We will let the pictures do the talking. Scallops and apple pie won tons
Locally raised filet mignon with truffle roasted garlic whipped cauliflower, spinach, crispy shallots and a balsamic reduction.
spiced ribeye with bacon braised red fingerling potatoes, garlic roasted broccoli, confit garlic and a cranberry gastrique. $27