Ian Thompson is heading back to the books. The Executive Chef of the Pacific Grill was in the middle of degree in Hospitality Management when Pacific Grill owner Gordon Naccarato called and asked him to come cook at Pacific Grill.
Thompson is just finishing up his 18-month career at Pacific Grill and will take a few weeks off to travel through Oregon before returning to the South Sound area to work in a lower-stress job while he focuses on his studies. “I plan on taking a kitchen lead position at Fircrest Golf & Country Club. I have never worked in a club kitchen before, I know it will be different than independent restaurants. I anticipate it being low stress enough to allow me to focus on school. I will consider this job as a bridge,” he wrote in an e-mail. Click “more” to read his plans, and to see what’s next for Pacific Grill.
Ultimately, Thompson has his eye on a job at someplace like the new Cedarbrook Lodge in SeaTac. If you haven’t heard of it yet, check out this menu link. The restaurant looks like a place where foodies should convene and hold court. The executive chef Mark Bodinet previously cooked at Napa Valley’s much beloved French Laundry. (Every time I say that restaurant name, I hear harps and see angels).
Thompson, a Gig Harbor native, previously cooked at Asado, Primo Grill and El Gaucho Tacoma. Here’s the story I wrote when he joined Pacific Grill in March 2009. Thompson had replaced Executive Chef Aaron Valimont, who left Pacific Grill to cook at the now-closed Oceanaire in Seattle. I got an e-mail from Aaron in November telling me that he had taken a job at Oceanaire in Dallas. I just checked and he’s still there.
What’s next for Pacific Grill? Owner Gordon Naccarato said he’s kicking around some ideas, including one that involves multi tasking. He might restructure the kitchen staff and take the role himself. “But I may change my mind,” Naccarato said in an e-mail.
Where: 1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma
Info: 253-627-3535 or pacificgrilltacoma.com