Seattle’s Famous Canlis Restaurant named the First Female Executive Chef

Aisha Ibrahim has been announced as the new head chef of the famed restaurant Canlis in Seattle. She is the first female executive chef at Canlis and joins a long list of notable chefs who have worked at the restaurant over its seven decades.

The management at Canlis was looking for a chef who was interested in that way of thinking, someone who was interested in not simply putting his or her ego on a plate, but rather in actually trying to help inspire an entire industry.

Ibrahim was a sous chef at California’s three-star Manresa. She worked with chef Eneko Atxa at Aziamendi and Azurmendi, developing her culinary horizons.

The new head chef was drawn to Seattle’s wealth of locally sourced ingredients, according to the New York Times, her Canlis dishes would explore the region’s microclimates, traditional cuisine, and Asian influences.

Brian Canlis, a co-owner of the restaurant, considered Ibrahim’s test meal as the final step in the long process. “We set out to find a leader who could help rebuild a broken industry,” he tells Eater. Many kitchen cultures are toxic, he added. They want to continue creating a new norm for how individuals are regarded in kitchens and restaurants.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Canlis, along with many other restaurants in the past year, experimented with a variety of different service formats. These formats included everything from parking lot yurts to drive-through burgers. 

The famed restaurant has informed that they will soon be opening a restaurant that will be distinct from the one that they previously operated but which they shut down a year ago. They have no interest in going in the other direction and would much rather proceed in the future path.

Canlis will be led by Ibrahim into the post-pandemic future, with the debut of her menu slated for July 2021.