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Thomas Kovacs

Thomas was born into a family of cooks. Almost as soon as he could walk his grandfather took him into the kitchen at the Sheraton and began his education on the subject of food. At the age of eighteen, while living in Italy, he landed his first job as a line cook. He’s been working in kitchens, both abroad and here on the west coast ever since. 

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Justin Legaspi

Justin Legaspi is currently the Sous Chef of Renee Erickson’s, Bateau, in Seattle, Wa. During his time there, he has helped lead a team to many accolades such as getting the Seattle Time’s First 4-star review, being Seattle Met’s 2016 Best Restaurant and most recently being recognized as Eater’s Essential 38 Restaurants in the Nation for the 2nd year. All the accolades were not a goal for Justin when starting at Bateau, but mores were a product of his efforts to help create a kitchen culture based off of something as simple as "Team Work”. Justin was also recognized as one of Zagat’s 30 under 30 chefs in Seattle for his beliefs in creating an environment where he can build a strong foundation for his co-workers and fellow chefs to work together to create amazing things. Justin’s resume also includes working a 3 month stage in San Sebastian Spain, opening up local restaurants Rachel Yang’s Trove and Jason Stratton’s late Spanish influenced restaurant, Aragona, and started his career in the Madison Valley tapas bar, The Harvest Vine.

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Samantha Lacy

Sam is the General Manager and Event Coordinator for Almquist Family. She has been working in wineries and contributing to wine branding for the past 7 years. She has a passion for fermentation, and when she’s not working she can be found devotedly cultivating her sourdough bread practice at home. Soon Sam and her wife, Ili, will be moving to Queenstown, NZ to head up the new event space and restaurant for Almquist Family at Mount Soho. Sam hopes to bring her artisan approach and sharp aesthetic to this new venture. 

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Ili Wong

Ili heads up the restaurant at Almquist Family as chef. Hailing from Oahu, she is excited to move to Queenstown to discover a new aspect of Pacific Islander culture and understand Maori cuisine. Ili has worked the line at some of Seattle’s best restaurants including Ray’s Boathouse, The Hi-Life, Seatown and Trove. Recently, Ili ran her first half marathon, and has set her sights on long distance trail running.

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Sarah Letchworth

Sarah grew up on Lummi Island and was practically raised by the Willows Inn. Over the past few years she has worked her way through the ranks to become a prominent member of the service team. She’s now looking to continue her career, working in places all over the globe!

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John Gattey Jr.

John has been cooking in and around Vancouver for close to a decade with most recent stops at the Four Seasons and the Willows Inn on Lummi Island. An avid outdoorsman, much of his food takes inspiration from the beautiful landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, and draws upon his memories of camping and hunting.

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Julia Pebbles Olmos

I’m a Washington native currently working at the Willows Inn. I’ve recently started to go by my middle name Pebbles, and I can’t wait to see everyone at REM one.

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Jon Ragsdale

23 year old cook from Seabeck WA. Former cook at Trove and Rock Creek. Currently cooking at Heartwood Provisions. 

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Larry Nguyen

I grew up in Dallas, TX and Los Angeles, CA. Food was a massive part of our culture growing up.  Every major moment in our family had amazing food we cooked together as a family.  Little did I know it was more formative than I could have imagined.   While pursuing a degree in Evolutionary Biology, I was working as a researcher studying the possibly of using Carbon Nanotubes in cancer research.  I hated it.  I applied for a cook job throughout Dallas in search of something different.  I started out at a sushi restaurant and continued to work my  way through the Dallas culinary scene, most notably Stephan Pyles, Driftwood, and the Mansion on Turtle Creek.  I moved to New York to work at Betony under Chef Bryce Shuman for three years.  During that time I received a grant to work at Central for three months.  After Betony,  I went to Austin to be a sous chef under Chef Paul Qui at Kuneho.  I have since left to join the Willows Inn on Lummi Island.

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Thea Cabreros

Thea Cabreros is a classy east coast gal who  formerly worked as a captain at Del Posto and Ceraldi. She is excited to take over as Wine Director at The Willows Inn this Spring. 

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Isaac Daschbach

Isaac Daschbach is a young chef at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington. Isaac has lived on the island his whole life, and plans to stay working at The Willows Inn for at least another year before traveling Europe and working in kitchens outside the US.