Bruce + Sara Naftaly
A little bit about Bruce + Sara Naftaly, Marmite, and how this all came to be...
You could say Nettle Soup is Bruce Naftaly's lucky dish. Not only is Bruce famous for it but he charmed his wife Sara while picking nettles at Discovery Park on their first date. After meeting in his garden at Le Gourmand they bonded over a mutual need for what was at the time a rare ingredient: nettles. Back in ’98 you couldn’t simply order nettles as most chefs would today, they had to be found and once found Bruce would certainly have to pick them himself. While Bruce and Sara didn't call it a date, he brought a thermos of coffee and they picked 33 gallons of nettles together over the course of a day. Sara impressed Bruce with her technique (her touch is precise, and her knowledge, vast). Bruce wowed Sara with his unique flavors, instinct, and his go-by-your-gut nature. They bonded over a mutual love of classic French cuisine and a similar ideology when it came to where their food was coming from. Bruce and Sara met in March, were engaged in July, and by the following September they were cooking together at Le Gourmand.
From then on Bruce and Sara became a team both in the kitchen and in life. The pair ran Le Gourmand together and together opened the adjacent Sambar in 2003. In 2012 they decided it was time to slow life down a bit. Sara wanted to open a bakery and Bruce had been living at Le Gourmand since the restaurant started service in 1995. It seemed like time for a night off or two. In December 2015 Sara’s bakery dreams were finally realized when she opened Amandine in Chophouse Row. However, the fateful moment for their nights off arrived when chef Matt Dillon spotted Bruce peering over the mezzanine of what would soon become Marmite. It was decided: Bruce and Sara were taking over the space. Though they had both adamantly agreed another restaurant was not in the cards, in December of 2016 Marmite opened its doors – initially serving only takeout. By January lunch arrived and in late February dinner finally came to the table with their first service on Valentine’s eve. Marmite was not complete until April’s spring winds brought Sara’s companion bar inside Marmite, Spirit in the Bottle.
Bruce and Sara are always looking for that eureka moment: when hard-earned and well-developed instincts connect a new flavor with classic dishes they both adore. Bruce is the forefather of farm-to-table cooking in Seattle, sourcing exclusively local meats and produce from within 50 miles of the city as the chef at Robert Rosellini’s restaurant The Other Place in the 70’s. Sara has lived and cooked all over the world studying both sweet and savory under renowned private chef Michel Boulard and Susan Spicer of Bayona in New Orleans.
As a team, Bruce and Sara share a love for the unexpected and a passion for connecting with those who grow and raise the ingredients they lovingly prepare. It is in this actual dialogue that magic happens, which is why we make a point of creating long and lasting connections with those who grow and raise what we serve in Marmite, Spirit in the Bottle, and Amandine Bakeshop next door. Often a rare or unusual ingredient is available to us because of a farmer willing to grow it specifically for Bruce and Sara, with our sincere promise that we will bring equal love and care to the produce once it reaches our kitchen.