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Follow the Journey of Award-Winning Spokane Chef, Chad White

Born and raised in Spokane Valley, Chad White has a heart for our region, exceptional bold flavor profiles and an unstoppable work ethic. 

He made his mark early in his career with an appearance on “Top Chef” in its 13th season. 

After the continued support and encouragement of his family and friends, he decided to bring the bold flavors of Mexico to the diners in our city with Zona Blanca Ceviche

His cutting-edge, globally-influenced style keeps his customers coming back for more. 

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He has grown two other businesses from the ground up; he added Uno Más Taco Shop, located inside the Wonder Building, and TT’s Old Iron Brewery, a thriving Spokane Valley barbecue joint, to his list of acclaimed local restaurants.

Award Winning Talent in the Inland Northwest

Chef White was named a repeat semifinalist in the 2022 (and previously 2020) James Beard Awards in the Best Chef Northwest & Pacific category (Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington). This is a prestigious honor that has only been given to a handful of chefs in the Inland Northwest, and even fewer have been given the honor of multiple nods.

The road to success hasn’t been without challenges, and his characteristic intensity and dedication to excellence had carried him through a series of setbacks that have positively impacted his leadership in the expanding culinary empire he has been building in Spokane today.

“It hasn’t been easy,” said White. “It’s been difficult, and I’ve tried a lot of different things, and I’ve tried to be as consistent as possible and put on a happy face. It isn’t always great, but I keep pushing forward.”

Many people don’t realize this, but every year Chad raises over $60,000 for local organizations with dinners that he puts on for charitable causes all over the city.

“It’s not a lot of money, but the impact is huge,” White said. “Restaurant employees are asked to give a lot. We have an ability, especially in our food community, to give back to organizations, and we take that very seriously. There is an opportunity to do something, and there is a far greater responsibility as a restaurateur in this city. It’s about training, it’s about love and it’s about support.”

Organizations like Big Table, Junior League of Spokane, No Kid Hungry, Central Valley High School Booster Club, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Kawasaki Disease Foundation, and Second Harvest Food Bank benefit from the donation of his time and talent.

At the end of the day, what makes the sacrifices of being a restaurant owner worth it for him is simple. 

“I love seeing people happy. It really is so important to me. Seeing people smile because they’re being cared for,” White said. 

“Hearing reviews that say, ‘This is the most delicious meal I’ve ever had in Spokane,’ matters less to me, but seeing somebody truly enjoy their experience, that is really the highlight of it all,” explained the chef.

White not only believes in making people happy, but in the importance of supporting other chefs through the process of collaboration. It is important to him to be challenged and improve his craft, as well as to form relationships with fellow industry members.

“I love collaborating and camaraderie amongst chefs. We all cook on different levels. I guarantee that there is someone in this city that can do something better than me, and the exciting thing about collaborating is growth,” said White.

His persistent belief in the possibilities in Spokane’s future help to maintain the buzz that we continue to receive from around the nation as a burgeoning food destination, and we can’t wait to see what he does next.

Erin Peterson, Editor-In-Chief

Erin Peterson grew up in Post Falls, Idaho and became a professionally certified educator – earning the Provost’s Award for academic achievement and community service from Lewis-Clark State College. Now she is an award-winning local influencer, podcaster and digital strategy educator with a passion for equity and inclusion. Erin has been published and featured in a wide variety of local publications including the Spokesman Review, The Inlander, and has served as an editor at Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living magazine. If you want to learn more about how she is making an impact right here in the Northwest, give her a follow on Instagram at @trending.northwest or Trending Northwest on Facebook.

Read all of Erin’s articles on TNW here.

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