Michael Kaminski, the Director

“I firmly believe that a great restaurant experience involves theatricality; there is an underlying sense of character and role play that the audience–our guests–enter the building with.  How my staff interacts either confirms or subverts those expectations; this is what truly creates energy and a unique sense of place – that feeling that you get when you walk into a space and you just know that it is a place that you want to spend your time.

I grew up in California but had lived in Seattle for nearly 20 years before moving out here.  I received my college degree from the University of California Santa Barbara in Film Studies; I joke that a Film Studies degree pretty much insures that one will have a great restaurant career!  Not an unusual story – waited tables in college, was good at it, became a restaurant manager.  I was into wine so that was a natural progression for me. In 1999 I was certified by the American Chapter of the British Court of Master Sommeliers.  I worked for many years for a fellow named Paul MacKay in Seattle.  We opened our first restaurant in 1996 – a luxury steakhouse named El Gaucho.  It was wildly successful.  I worked for him as the restaurant group grew, about 11 years, with a brief hiatus working in a circus(!) called Teatro ZinZanni.  In 2008 I joined The Herbfarm as Lead Sommelier and started my collaboration with Keith then.  We moved out here sight unseen, other than pictures of the property.”

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