a guide to Ethan Stowell’s cook-offs

Every-so-often, Ethan Stowell hosts a cook-off at one of his restaurants. The cook-offs are usually held at his restaurant, Tavolàta in Belltown. Reservations are a must. These types of events usually sell out.

Last week, my husband and I attended a chocolate cook-off.

cookoff score card

Here’s how the cook-off works:  10 local Seattle chefs volunteer their time and skills. They must make a dish that pertains to the cook-off theme. In this case, the theme was chocolate.

Each chef’s dish is assigned a number from 1-10. The dish is presented with their respective numbers, on the large buffet table in the middle of the restaurant.

When the time to taste comes, patrons stand in line and grab a piece of each dish. Don’t forget to strategically place each portion on your plate in order! It helps to remember the dishes this way.

There is so much food leftover, that second helpings are encouraged.

co table

Checking in:  Tavolàta is closed to other non-cook off guests. Approach the maître d’ and let her know that you have a reservation. You will pay at the door. You will get a pen and a score card. The score card outlines the rules, the chefs and the cause for the cook-off.


Cost: $50 per person. This does not include tax and gratuity.

What is included: Unlimited amount of wine, the specialty beer they are serving for the evening and more than enough of the dishes for the cook-off. You will leave extremely full.

Last week, they also served an unlimited amount of charcuterie as appetizers. The charcuterie stopped when the chocolate competition began.

The servers will take your alcohol/drink order. They will not bring any food to you.


How the winner is picked: Everyone picks their top dish by writing down the dish’s number on their score card. The servers collect the score cards and the votes are tallied. The winner is revealed towards the end of the evening.

 Know before you go:

  • You must make reservations
  • Go with a group of people, it is more fun to discuss the different types of dishes with others
  • If you stay until the very end of the event, you can ask for a to-go box and take some leftovers home with you.
  • Give yourself enough time to find parking. Parking is on the street.
  • If you are going to drink, have a designated driver.

Where is the bathroom: underneath the stairs, across from the kitchen.

To keep up with events at Ethan Stowell’s restaurants go here.


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