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Award-winning Seattle chef Maria Hines cooks up gluten-free, vegan menus

James Beard award-winning chef Maria Hines has created special vegan and gluten-free menus at her acclaimed Wallingford restaurant Tilth. (Tilth image)

Chef Maria Hines has always tried to accommodate gluten-free and vegan diners at her acclaimed Seattle restaurants Tilth, Golden Beetle and Agodolce. But when she found out a number of friends and colleagues were having to eat gluten-free, she decided to do more, recently unveiling a gluten-free menu at her flagship gourmet organic restaurant Tilth.

It’s a first for the James Beard award-winning chef, who told KIRO Radio Let’s Eat hosts Terry Jaymes and Providence Cicero she finally decided to do it after a recent dinner where the server suggested her friend simply scrape the Parmesan foam off her dish rather than prepare something special for her.

“There have been times where they’re just telling her ‘Well, we’ll see what the kitchen can do’ and they have to rattle through the whole menu,” she said. “You know we’re very accommodating in that way but it’s like let’s make it where they don’t have to do any of that.”

The gluten-free menu is everything you’d expect from a chef of Hines’ caliber. The $65 tasting menu features a creamy Jerzy Boy Apple Soup, Juniper Coffee Beet Salad, St. Jude’s Albacore Tuna, Grilled Dakota Beef Hanger Steak and a Theo’s Dark Chocolate Sorbet.

The menu is accompanied by a $35 five-flight wine pairing featuring a number of fine varietals from Washington, France, Portugal and Spain.

Hines has also developed a gourmet vegan menu at Tilth, replacing the fish and meat from the gluten-free menu with a Farro Risotto made with kabocha squash, charred leek and cilantro, along with a Smoked Heirloom Bean Cassoulet made with truffle butter, wild mushroom and oven dried tomato.

“I’ve had some hit and miss meals and I just thought gosh it’s really easy enough it’s a no-brainer I’d love to try and provide something to Vegans that want to have a full service fancy refined dining experience that they’re really going to enjoy.”

While a number of restaurants have begun offering to accommodate gluten-free and vegan diners on their menus, Tilth is among the first of the area’s high-end eateries to develop a specific menu. And Hines hopes it becomes widespread.

“Just a slew of people that I know were coming across this issue so it was like alright let’s do this.”

Let’s Eat can be heard on KIRO Radio Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at noon. Available anytime ON DEMAND at

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