Cafe Juanita
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Holly Smith

About Chef Holly Smith

Holly Smith grew up in Monkton, Maryland in a food loving family. Holly studied political science at both Colby College and Washington College later attending the Baltimore International Culinary College.  Holly completed an externship in Ireland with Master Chef Peter Timmins while at BICC.

In 1993 Holly moved to Seattle and accepted a position with Tom Douglas at the Dahlia Lounge. Holly was the sous chef of the Dahlia Lounge for 4 years. In 1999, Chef Tamara Murphy encouraged Holly to become a part of the opening of Brasa. She spent that year as sous chef, leaving to open Cafe Juanita in April of 2000.

Cafe Juanita has been a labor of love, allowing Holly to express her passion for Northern Italian food and wine; a commitment to organics and sustainability and a holistic approach to the dining experience. Holly hopes to showcase local products while serving modern Northern Italian inspired cuisine.

Holly and Cafe Juanita have received awards and recognition both locally and nationally.  Locally with 3 1/2 stars from the Times and  4 stars from the Seattle Post Intelligencer, as well as recognition in Esquire, Wine Spectator, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Seattle Magazine, The Robb Report, Travel and Leisure,  Sunset.   Holly was the 2008 Best Chef Northwest from The James Beard Awards .  In 2011 Holly and Cafe Juanita were nominated for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restaurant.  Holly was honored again in 2012 to be nominated for Outstanding Chef in the US.

Holly lives in North Seattle with her young son Oliver.