Belated happy 2016, dear reader. We know you’ve missed receiving Seattle Outsider Musings blogs we send to your inbox, um…somewhat irregularly. Absence makes the heart fonder, we would like to think…
Fret no more! We’re happily back on track after an extended holiday hiatus, and raring to cover all the news that’s not necessarily fit to print (after all, this ain’t the NY Times, but our East Coast/Left Coast perspective is probably much more fun to read, right?
Seattle Outsider Musings diva, aka Wordsmith Maggie, would like to devote her first 2016 edition with a tribute to and appreciation of Duke Moscrip–founder of Duke’s Restaurants, and his co-author Executive Chef “Wild” Bill Ranniger for this year’s hot-off-the-press cookbook: Duke’s Chowder House–As Wild as it Gets, Duke’s Secret Sustainable Seafood Recipes Including Intimate Tales of the Legend Himself.
Oh, no–not another cookbook, you say? Sure, there’s a glut of ’em out there, but this one isn’t just different–it’s beyond extraordinary, from start to finish.
The best way WM can describe this glossy four-color coffee table tome is that it is a love letter to Moscrip’s extended family. By that WM is referring to his homage to his older brother, Bill, aka Bubba, his parents and grandparents, his two adult children, four grandkids (“the next generation of chefs”), his new bride whom Duke recently married after 30-plus years as a bachelor (lucky girl!), and his very loyal staff of head chefs, each averaging 15 years of employment at Duke’s–an amazing achievement considering the traditional high turnover rate in the restaurant business. Not to be outdone, Executive Chef “Wild” Bill Ranniger has devoted over 20 years to helping build the brand’s success.
And then there’s Duke’s tireless Marketing Director and “leader of the [AWAIG’s] pack”, Bettina Carey, appearing in a sweet two-page spread clinking a glass of white wine with the legend himself. And, lastly, the trusted Duke’s Chowder House corporate team which includes Duke’s son and business partner, John Moscrip, as COO. “We have the unique opportunity to create special moments with our guests every day”, John says, adding “I love that passion and could not imagine doing anything else!”
Speaking of wine, Duke makes a surprising claim in the Wine By The Glass section of the book that back in 1976 he was the first to introduce serving varietals by the glass to his customers. Prior to that time, people ordering wine with dinner had to purchase an entire bottle. Duke, ever the one to be ahead of what’s trending in the restaurant business…
Ingrid Pape-Sheldon, photographer/filmmaker
For all of the book’s sumptuous content, replete with a multitude of “did you know” ditties about chemical-free, sustainable fishing (never farmed) and fish-handling practices, nutritional advise from a noted M.D., N.D., mouth-watering recipes and how to make perfect “Duketails” (if you haven’t experienced their #1 selling libation: the “Bloody Bloody Mary”, served in Duke’s signature slanted highball glass, you’re missing out, big time!), it’s all about the photography. Special credit is due to principal photographer Ingrid Pape-Sheldon whose absolutely stunning images grace the book’s 384 pages. As Team Duke’s would say: it’s sooo good!
On a personal note, WM had the pleasure of cruising aboard Holland America’s m.s. Westerdam for a week-long trip to Alaska late last summer. During the voyage WM had the pleasure of being wined and dined at a private dinner party hosted by Duke along with a select group of invited guests. WM had the honor of being seated at the head table directly opposite Duke who regaled us with stories of his legendary past. What a delight!
The Costly Madagascar Thyme Incident
One of the most memorable tales he shared with us during dinner was the time when Duke’s had to throw out $32,000 worth of chowder because the thyme their supplier had substituted for use was from a different source (Madagascar vs. the “approved” California brand), and the offending herb unfavorably altered the product. Ouch!
“It wasn’t our fault and our supplier realized that”, Duke later recalled. “They also realized that they had violated our agreement to inform us of every change in buying and get our approval”, adding “Were all back to normal now”. This is a true testimony to Moscrip’s highly-developed keen sense of taste and smell, not to mention his ongoing quest for perfection in all things culinary.
One final comment about AWAIG: Knowing how difficult it was for Team Duke’s to translate production “batch” recipes into small recipes for the home cook (serving sizes varying from one to six), they did an excellent job! The proof is in the pudding, as they say. And as they say at Duke’s: It’s sooo good!
To get your copy of “As Wild as it Gets”, $49.95, published by Aviva Publishing, NY (a portion of book sales will benefit Long Live The Kings, an organization dedicated restoring wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest) visit any of the six Duke’s Chowder House restaurants listed below, or contact Bettina Carey at (206) 283-8422, ext. 4.
– Dukes Alki, 2516 Alki Avenue SW, West Seattle
– Duke’s Kent Station, 240 W. Kent Station Street, Kent
– Duke’s Ruston Way, 3327 Ruston Way, Tacoma
– Duke’s Lake Union, 901 Fairview Ave N., Seattle
– Duke’s Green Lake, 7850 Green Lake Drive N., Seattle
– Duke’s Southcenter, 757 Southcenter Mall, Tukwila
For further information, click on this link: http://www.dukeschowderhouse.com/cookbook/