Jerry Traunfield

Jerry Traunfield
Did you know?

While traveling in India, Jerry was inspired by a culinary tradition that involves a thali, a platter served to each guest holding a variety of small dishes. This way, reasons the chef, everyone gets to have small tastes of exactly what they want.


Jerry Traunfield
Jerry's Featured Recipe
Simpler Summer Rolls

Click here for recipe

Jerry Traunfeld recently opened Poppy on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. To present his own style of cooking, he designed Poppy's menu by borrowing the idea of an Indian thali. The small plates on the thali highlight seasonal ingredients, fresh herbs, and spices.


Jerry grew up in Maryland and by the age of 12, he was tending vegetables as well as turning out puff pastry. After college in the Northwest, he moved to San Francisco and attended the California Culinary Academy, graduating in 1983.


Following several kitchen stints in San Francisco, including the venerable Ernie’s and the opening year of Stars, Jerry moved back to Seattle where he became executive chef of the Alexis Hotel. In 1990, Ron Zimmerman and Carrie Van Dyck tapped him to take over (from Ron) as the chef of a tiny restaurant serving luncheons in a converted garage on the grounds of a working herb nursery. The restaurant was called The Herbfarm.


During his tenure as chef, the restaurant continued to garner national acclaim. The Herbfarm was voted one of the top ten restaurants in the United States in the 2007 Zagat Survey and is a Gayot’s Top 40 U.S. Restaurants. It is the only AAA 5-Diamond restaurant in the Northwest.


In 2000, Jerry won the James Beard Award for Best American Chef in the Northwest and Hawaii. His first book, The Herbfarm Cookbook, won the 2000 IACP award for best cookbook by a restaurant or chef. He is currently working on a new book of herbal recipes.


An expert in the subject of culinary herbs, he has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Fortune, and many other publications. He has appeared on Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens Television and The Food Network, and is a regular guest on Public Radio's The Splendid Table.


Nancy Leson of The Seattle Times, called Jerry "an incomparable chef/genius" in a four-star review, and The Herbfarm Restaurant was ranked number 15 of the 50 best restaurants in the United States by Gourmet in 2001. USA Today's Jerry Shriver named his dinner at The Herbfarm as his top meal of 2002. It is the only restaurant in the Northwest to be awarded five diamonds by AAA. Jerry was named one of the "chefs who made a difference" in Bon Appetit's 2003 Decade of Dining issue.


Jerry lives in Seattle with his partner,Stephen, and their two Shiba dogs.

Latest Recipes

Slow-Roasted Salmon with Spring Herb Sauce

Ive become a devotee of this method of baking salmon in a very slow oven. It comes out glistening, deeply colored, and slightly transluc...

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Orecchiette with Kale, Pancetta, and Oregano

This is a quick pasta to satisfy cool-weather cravings for greens. I’ve been making it ever since I tasted a similar dish in Rome many ye...

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Simpler Summer Rolls

Everyone’s falling for the beautiful Southeast Asian summer rolls (formerly known as spring rolls) that are offered in many restaurants. ...

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Warm Figs Filled with Goat Cheese and Bacon

Although figs ripen in summer, they love wintry herbs like thyme and rosemary, and both herbs flavor the filling for these easy appetizer...

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Smoked Salmon Stuffed Eggs

Everyone loves deviled eggs. This version has the two herbs that are synonymous to both eggs and smoked salmon: chives and chervil.

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Parsley and Mint Soup

I know, parsley soup sounds strange, but to me, parsley is as much a green vegetable as an herb. Nibble on a leaf; it tastes delightfully...

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Bay-Scented Chestnut Soup

Because American chestnut trees were wiped out in the early part of the twentieth century by blight, most fresh chestnuts sold in this co...

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Green Bean, Basil, and Radish Salad

Fillet beans, the slender green beans that are sometimes called haricots verts or “French beans,” are perfect for this salad, but you can...

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Dilled Celery, Asian Pear, and Hazelnut Salad

This winter salad, pairing the juicy snap of Asian pear and celery, then studded with hazelnuts and laced with dill, gets its inspiration...

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Roasted Cauliflower with Apple and Dill

No other herb complements cauliflower as well as dill. Rather than steaming or boiling the cauliflower, I roast it in a very hot oven, wh...

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Oven-Braised Forest Mushrooms

Certain types of wild mushrooms that we prepare in the restaurant - like lobster mushrooms and blue chanterelles - require very long cook...

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Mushroom Marjoram Bread Pudding

Like a cross between a glorious Thanksgiving stuffing and a savory mushroom custard, this bread pudding is appropriate in any season. It ...

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Rhubarb Mint Cobbler

If you cook strictly with the seasons in a temperate climate, there is nothing but rhubarb for desserts between the last apples and pears...

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Warm Maple Rosemary Banana Splits

Nothing is cozier than a warm banana dessert in winter. This one is perfect for a spur-of-the-moment treat because you can make it in a f...

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Cookbooks, etc

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