Jason Wilson and Kevin Benner have known each other and worked together on and off for eight years, and are now paired again as of March 2023 at The Lakehouse Bellevue. Says Wilson, “Debbie (Friend Wilson, Jason’s wife and Lakehouse co-owner) and I had the opportunity to step away from the restaurant for a little bit, and I’d wanted to work with Kevin again for a while.”
Benner is from Bellingham originally, and spent some time in New York cooking at the Gramercy Park Hotel before returning to the Northwest. Known for an avant-garde approach to food, Benner says, “ I’ve spent my career learning and growing, and from that, creation happens. I cook with respect and gratitude, and try to honor ingredients by letting them be the best that they can be.” He raves about the produce grown locally, and feels lucky to work with several new farms each year.
Wilson enthuses that, “What Kevin creates at the Lakehouse is in line with the ‘Bellevue ethos’. He has been able to take this food to another level, it’s very interesting and compelling.” To give an example, Benner explains the current in-house dry aging program at the restaurant. Having tweaked the settings in the temperature and humidity controlled environment to allow for steelhead to be dry aged, they were able to pull out a new flavor, and that steelhead dish was served through the summer.
“From my standpoint in my career, the team here is amazing, bringing their talent and creative ideas. It’s very much ‘Team Lakehouse’.” says Benner. Wilson responds that “Kevin has built a team that’s about telling a story, and this local chef-driven restaurant is from Bellevue. The Lakehouse is telling a story that’s unique to the Bellevue area.”