Checking in with Chef Claycamp

Now truth be told, I just met Chef Claycamp for the first time a couple weeks ago, so this check in was in fact, a first.

I knew of him, of course, as I’m sure most devoted American foodies do. The creative genius behind Culinary Communion, Gypsy, Vagabond, Muse, the Lunch Counter, and the Swinery, his resume and reputation espouse the two things I really love about cooking, sharing what you know and great meat.

Fans of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations will remember his Seattle episode and the meal Chef Claycamp prepared therein. Watchers may not know that, due to an offhand remark regarding imported cheese, the Chef still can’t cross International borders without being hassled by Customs. Ya hear that Bourdain? Call ’em and say y’all were just joshing, ‘K?

In partnership with Proprietor and owner of Castle A Farms Tiffany Hudson, Claycamp will act as Executive Chef at Cassoulet, set to open on the 5th of September. Cassoulet is located north of Bellingham in a truly gorgeous chunk of Whatcom County.

Our Daughter-In-Law, Miranda, has joined the staff, and was kind enough to invite us to a test run of one of the menus. That’s an invite you don’t say no to, of course…

On a beautiful summer evening, we descended on a truly warm and inviting space and joined the friends and families of the staff for an incredible evening of food, wine and great conversation.

Tiffany is simply a joy, all around. She spent two years working on a traditional family farm in Varcaturo, Italy, a province northwest of Naples in the southern part of the country, and absorbed volumes of traditional techniques and methods for planting, farming and preserving food. As will happen to darn near anyone steeped in the traditions of the Italian countryside, (My Sis studied in Perugia), one becomes inexorably woven into the fabric of the place and finds it very hard to leave. Tiffany’s solution was to transplant that vibe to her own Castle A Farms and now to Cassoulet.

I won’t divulge everything we had in detail. I’ll just say that it was fantastic and we’ll be back. Several of the dishes, (OK, the Corsican lamb and the shrimp and grits), were truly stellar.

The seating is comfortably family style and will accommodate about 40 folks.

Great food, staff and wine generates conviviality, which is quite simply the essence of a truly great meal. We’ll let Cassoulet and their staff explain the nuts and bolts of how things work; know that everything will change day to day based on what’s locally available, and that pretty much everything that can be is locally sourced. There’s a nice little bar, and even here you’ll find a nice selection of local wine and spirits, (The Ebb & Flow gin from Seattle was sublime).

We’ll just close by saying that virtually every aspect of the experience was wonderful. When you leave full and grinning from ear to ear, what more could you ask for?

Put Sept 5th and Cassoulet on your calendar and we’ll see y’all there.

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