I love discovering that someone is secretly a geek.  I love it even more when that person also happens to be a chef.

I had the recent pleasure of dining at Kirkland’s lowercase waterfront hotspot bin on the lake and I got to spend some time chatting with the newly-arrived chef Paul Hyman (disclosure: this was a hosted dinner).  Chef Hyman’s Louisiana roots were evident in his passion for food (everyone I know from Louisiana is a food fanatic), and his previous positions at highly-respected kitchens in Boston and Portland made him seem like a very natural fit for an upscale Pacific Northwest restaurant like bin.  However, I quickly realized that behind the mandatory Ranch Name + Organic + Popular Cut Served with Locally Grown Seasonal Vegetable (which was delicious, by the way) this chef was secretly channeling his deepest inner geek.

Take, for example, the dinner menu’s only pasta course: Corzetti.  Rather than opt for the more predictable handmade ravioli (which are to Seattle menus as Subarus are to Seattle streets), he chose a fresh pasta that I’d never seen on a menu before. I was intrigued.  The chef came to the table holding a pair of round wooden blocks and explained that they were handmade stamps for the little discs of pasta he served.  Not only does stamping the pasta create more surface area for it to hold sauce (winning geek points already), but these corzetti stamps are only made by a few people in the world and required a trip to Italy just to obtain.  Exclusive, nice.

Click through for more, plus photos of dinner.

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