James Beard Award winner wants to cook with you – virtually

Chef Jason Wilson can give customers an interactive dining experience in their own homes.

The James Beard Award-winning chef and owner of The Lakehouse in Bellevue wants to teach guests how to cook and make cocktails through a virtual experience.

Mid-pandemic restrictions on indoor dining are forcing restaurants across the state to adapt, and Chef Jason Wilson said The Lakehouse is no different.

On Jan. 30, The Lakehouse is hosting a four-course cocktail paired dining experience for guests to enjoy in the comfort of their own home.

During the meal, Chef Wilson and Civility & Unrest bar manager Joe Dietrich will join guests virtually for a series of cocktail mixing tutorials and a preparation walk-through of the first course — grilled ahi tuna with a cauliflower rice tabbouleh.

Customers that reserve their meal will be able to pick up their prepped food and cocktail ingredients from The W Hotel at 10455 NE 5th Place in Bellevue, where The Lakehouse is located.

Wilson said every course will include a cocktail tutorial led by Dietrich, but only the first course will be taught to guests for the sake of time.

“Joe is an amazing craftsman when it comes to cocktails,” Wilson said.

In addition to the first course of ahi tuna, the meal also includes an appetizer course with edamame and shiitake mushroom falafel, as well as a small bite that Wilson said is his tongue-in-cheek way of serving caviar on a potato chip.

A marinated and grilled vegetable salad will be prepared in addition to a main course of braised beef short rib with potato puree and carrots with mushrooms. Not to mention lemon bars for dessert.

“Local, fresh sustainably sourced food, that means something to us as chefs,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the event aims to give customers quality ingredients that are indicative of the values of The Lakehouse and its staff. He hopes to teach guests a little bit about their craft.

“It is beyond creating lemonade from lemons,” Wilson said. “I am stoked to be a part of this service.”

Wilson reflected on what was a difficult year for restaurateurs, with many dining establishments being forced to pivot to take-out business models. The Lakehouse started offering a new “We Make, You Bake” menu full of already prepared dishes like mac and cheese, heirloom tomato lasagna, soups, cookie dough and more.

Wilson said the menu was composed of items that are easy for people to prepare in their own kitchen — and that are good for people to stock up on and keep frozen for when they need it.

For Wilson, this year has helped broaden his horizons as a chef. He said he had to begin balancing what his ego as a chef thought was important versus what he thought a guest might enjoy the most.

“The past year has ultimately reset my personal values regarding control,” Wilson said. “The only things I can control are the quality of our product and the health of the business.”

Check it out

Those interested in signing up for the virtual dining experience on Jan. 30 or wanting to order from the “We Make, You Bake” menu can do so at www.exploretock.com/thelakehouse.

Joe Dietrich, bar manager at Civility & Unrest, stirs a cocktail. Courtesy photo

Joe Dietrich, bar manager at Civility & Unrest, stirs a cocktail. Courtesy photo