Four-star chef matches food to the brew

Josh Klein, newly hired four-star chef at Silver City Restaurant & Brewery in Silverdale, works with fire — as if at a forge — as concocts creative cuisine. - Photo by Kelly Everett
Josh Klein, newly hired four-star chef at Silver City Restaurant & Brewery in Silverdale, works with fire — as if at a forge — as concocts creative cuisine.
— image credit: Photo by Kelly Everett

As a youngster, Josh Klein was a coast-to-coast kid. In between, the foundation of his career as a top-notch chef was being layed.

Klein, 32, has just been hired as executive chef at Silver City Restaurant & Brewery.

When he was age 3, his parents divorced, and ended up living on opposite coasts. As a youngster, he remembers eating at the best restaurants on Bainbridge Island, his mother’s home, and in New York City, where his father lives.

“I spent my winters in New York and my summers on Bainbridge Island. In high school on the island, I started working part-time at the Manor Farm Inn (and restaurant) in Poulsbo,” he said. Poulsbo is also his current home. “In New York, we lived close to the CIA — the Culinary Institute of America.”

While at the Manor Farm Inn, the head chef there told him he had a knack for cooking, and should pursue it as a career. Klein said he was initially interested in graphic arts — both parents have worked in that field — but as he continued to cook at the Farm... “It was a natural transition from one kind of art to another.”

He added that his father’s been married four times.

“Two of his wives were Jewish... and there was this tremendous emphasis on family gatherings and great cooking.... My life has been filled with food.” Klein said jokingly, that if God ever had a purpose for him, it was to feed people, and feed them well. “The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach,” he said.

His resume is impressive.

He worked at Manor Farm as executive chef from 1993 to 1996; at “Mad Boy Madison” restaurant on Bainbridge Island for most of 1996; “Blackberries” restaurant at the Palace Hotel in Port Townsend in 1997; at Great Alaska in Sterling, Alaska; Cucina! Cucina! in San Mateo, Calif. and Seattle, as senior chef, 1998-2000; and Restaurant Unlimited, Seattle, executive chef, 2000-2003.

He has written a book, “Beer Food Cook Book.” He was a cooking demonstrator at the Pacific International Hospitality Show in 1994 and 1996. Later, he created the recipe used in the Manor Farm photo shoot for Home Garden Magazine and won the bronze medal at the Seattle ACF Culinary Salon.

“If history is any indication,” said Scott Houmes, co-owner of the Brewery with his brother Steve, “2003 will be a watershed year for the culinary and brewing arts as Josh joins Silver City Restaurant and Brewery.”

Silver City, at 2799 N.W. Myhre Road in Silverdale, was established in 1996 with an emphasis on its home-brewed beers. Now, “70 percent of our business is in food,” he said, “Which is why we recently changed the name to Silver City ‘Restaurant’ & Brewery. Silver City currently employs about 60 people.

“The potential of this union (between Klein and Don Spencer, brewmaster) is almost magical,” he added. Spencer took the gold at last year’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colo. — for his now legendary Fat Bastard Ale. So beer is still a huge part of the business, he said.

Klein actually started at Silver City in April, just after getting married to his wife Crystal.

Hours are Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Call (360) 698-5879.

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