Tom Douglas

7 Questions with Maria Hines

If Iron Chef America host Alton Brown has said it once he’s said it a dozen times, when it comes to fish you do not want to battle Morimoto.  How true, out of Morimoto son’s thirty some-odd battles he’s has only lost twice when the secret ingredient was fish.  Once was to Seattle chef Tom Douglas in Battle Wild Salmon.  Oddly enough the only other chef to defeat the senior Iron Chef in a fish battle was also from Seattle.

Just recently Titlh chef/owner Maria Hines handed Morimoto his second loss in Battle Pacific Cod.  Judges John T. Edge, Julie White and Sam Haskell felt that Hines prepared the best tasting dishes awarding her 28 points in the “flavor” category to just 23 for the Iron Chef.  But Iron Chef is only the latest accolade for the  Bowling Green, Ohio native.  Chef Hines also won a James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Northwest in 2009 and was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs of 2005.  Chef Maria is a founding member of Seattle Restaurant Week.

Maria Hines 7 QuestionsAfter studying at Mesa College she soon found herself working in kitchens in New York, France, California, Washington D.C. and of course Seattle, first at Earth & Ocean and now with Tilth.  Hines was also a contestant on the second season of Top Chef: Masters which was won by Marcus Samuelson.

Recently Chef Maria Hines was courteous enough to answer 7 Questions:

1. How old were you when you first started to cook?


2. When did you decide that you could make food your career?

16 years old

3. Which chefs have influenced you the most?

Alice Waters

4. If you hadn’t followed this career path, what other career could you see yourself in?


5. What’s the highlight of your career so far?

Owning Tilth restaurant.

6. Only two chefs have ever bested Iron Chef Morimoto in a battle involving fish, yourself and Tom Douglas.  What is it about Seattle that makes the chefs so proficient with seafood?

We are surrounded by an amazing seafood bounty in the Northwest.

7. What’s next for Chef Maria Hines?

This is it. I love Tilth.

native of Bowling Green, Ohio.

ICA: Cora vs. Smith – Outcome

SPOILER ALERT: The following information is the outcome of Cora vs. Smith.  If you want information on the combatants click HERE.  If you are only interested in the outcome read on.

Battle: Grapes

Cora                             Smith

Taste: 24                     Taste: 25
Plating: 14                  Plating:  12
Originality: 11            Originality: 13
Total: 49                      Total: 50

Winner: Chef Smith

Judges:  Donatella Arpaia, Eva La Rue and Anya Fernald.

ICA: Cora vs. Smith

When Holly Smith first entered Kitchen Stadium it was not how she had envisioned it.  She was never supposed to enter from the challenger’s side.  She was supposed to enter as an Iron Chef.  That was the plan anyhow.  Last summer Smith joined a gaggle of would-be’s vying to be the Next Iron Chef.  Alas it was not to be.  Jose Garces went home with the coveted title that has been held by less people than have walked on the moon.

So here she is finally entering Kitchen Stadium and even though it is a compromised dream it is still a dream fulfilled.  The opportunity for redemption at hand.  On the other side awaits Cat Cora.  Though she sports the lowest winning percentage of any Iron Chef she has been on a tare since she and life partner Jennifer completed their dueling pregnancies.

Holly Smith’s road to Iron Chef America started in Monkton, Maryland where she grew up in a family of foodies.  That early love of food eventually lead her to attend the Baltimore International Culinary College.  Holly completed an externship in Ireland with Master Chef Peter Timmins while at BICC.

After culinary school Smith took a position with Tom Douglas at the Dahlia Lounge in Seattle.  Next she helped Chef Tamara Murphy open Brasa.  A year later Holly opened Cafe Juanita in the Emerald City and the accolades have been pilling up for the better part of a decade.  Esquire Magazine’s “The Top 22″ 2000, Bon Appetit “Best New Casual Restaurant” 2001, Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” 2000-2008, James Beard Nominations 2007, 2008 and 2009 and a James Beard Awards Winner for Best Chef Northwest in 2008.  Those are only a few of the roughly three dozen awards Smith has brought to Cafe Juanita.

Chef Smith brings her Northern Italian cuisine with it’s sauces rich with butter and cream to challenge the light Mediterranean fare preferred by Iron Chef Cora.  Donatella Arpaia, Eva La Rue and Anya Fernald are seated at the judge’s table, forks at the ready, Alton Brown is perched upon his observation tower, Kevin Brach wanders the floor and the Chairman has his metallic-toned shirt meticulously pressed.  Let Battle: Grapes begin.

SPOILER ALERT: Click HERE for the outcome.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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