James Beard Award-winning chef and former owner of several Seattle restaurants, Thierry Rautureau, died Sunday, according to a statement.
Known as “the chef in the hat,” Rautureau was the executive chef and owner of Rover’s Restaurant in Seattle, where he won his James Beard Award in 1998. He also opened the French café Luc in Madison Park in 2010, named after his father, and Loulay Kitchen & Bar in 2012. Both closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rautureau was also the co-host of “Hot Stove Society” with fellow James Beard-winning chef Tom Douglas, which has aired weekends on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM for 20 years, beginning in 2003.
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After he apprenticed in France at the age of 14 to learn the art of traditional French training, Rautureau moved to Seattle at the age of 20, where he became the head chef of Rover’s Restaurant in 1987 in Madison Valley.
“He was a fabulous chef, a true friend, a generous soul, a loving father, a curious mind, a thoughtful husband … all the things and more that many of us try to be but don’t always succeed at,” Douglas wrote in a statement regarding Rautureau’s passing. “Despite the fact I had to take him for his first KFC experience at age 50 Thierry was keen to try anything anytime … except McDonald’s … he drew his line in the sand at Chef Ronald.”
Rautureau’s culinary talents were only outdone by his generosity toward his community, helping “raise millions for charitable organizations across the country, especially in Washington state,” according to Douglas.
“In our last 25 years or so of doing weekly radio for KIRO, our two hours spent together became my favorite two of the week,” Douglas said. “Thierry’s classic training throughout Europe and my seat-of-the pants instincts offered a natural disconnect reconciled by wordy jousts, playful ribbing, and most of all an obvious love of our chosen line of work.”
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“When it comes to the almighty three T’s — talent, time and treasure — Thierry was never at a loss to offer all three,” Douglas continued.
Rautureau is survived by his wife, Kathleen Encell-Rautureau and their family.