Caprial smiling at the Bookstore Bar & Cafe.
  • Caprial smiling at the Bookstore Bar & Cafe.

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If you've ever dozed on a couch accompanied by channel 9 on a weekend afternoon, you're familiar with Caprial Pence—she's one-half of the PBS sweethearts on Caprial and John's Kitchen, aka "America's Favorite Cooking Couple."

Now Caprial—that's "ka-pree-ul," and her personality demands a first-name basis, even if you've never met her in person (which I have not)—is the brand-new executive chef at downtown Seattle's the Bookstore Bar & Cafe, attached to the posh Alexis Hotel.

It's worth noting that Pence, aside from seeming nearly excruciatingly nice, was the very first winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest, back in 1990, when she was running the kitchen at Seattle's acclaimed Fuller's. She was born in Washington and raised in Portland; she and John also ran Caprial’s Bistro in Portland for almost 20 years. She’s written a ton of cookbooks; she cooked for Julia Child’s 80th birthday.

“It’s really cool that I’m back in the place where I started my career," Caprial says. "It’s my own full-circle moment. I’m in good company because many of my friends and fellow chefs have migrated back to Seattle, too." (Burn on Portland?!) At the Bookstore Bar, she's making almost everything in-house, including the the pork pastrami for the Rueben, the pancetta, the ketchup for the fries, the goat labneh cheese on the chickpea cakes, and the pasta.

After the jump, she and John school you on knife skills. Prepare yourself for an immediate "cutting edge" pun.