SEATTLE - Growing up in England, Chef Kerry Sear knew at a young age he'd own his own restaurant - he just never thought it would be in Belltown.
"Belltown was not the hot-spot it is now. It was a different version of a hot-spot, I guess. It was kind of very seedy. So, it's nice to see it's changed," says Kerry, who opened Cascadia in 1999 after nearly two decades working for the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel in Canada.
He says he and his wife instantly fell in love with Seattle.
"The wilderness, the openness, you know, the wild foods that we get here was really interesting."
In fact, the Pike Place Market plays an integral role in Cascadia, providing not only the ingredients, but serving as a destination point for Kerry's summer Market Tours.
"We go shopping with a group of about 14 people," he says. "Then we go back to the restaurant and have some wine and we do a cooking class with the product we bought at the market. It's a lot of fun."
Kerry's been having fun in the kitchen since he was 11, working as an intern at a hotel just a few hundred yards away from his home in England.
"I wanted to be a graphic designer. I saw the artistic side of cooking and presentation and I said, 'That's it. There's no turning back.' "
It was Kerry's mom who convinced him to move out of the country.
"She could see there's a big world out there; you got to get out there and enjoy it."
Kerry changes his menu at Cascadia every month, but keeps the classics year round.
"We do an Indian-spiced salmon with lobster crushed potatoes which I did four years ago and I can't get rid of it."
Something else he can't get rid of? His famous mini burgers!
"I created a monster, people say. I gotta put a big sign up saying 'over a billion served' soon."
The dollar burgers come complete with all the trimmings.
"We do everything from lobster to raw onions, grilled onions, portobellos."
And they've become so popular, Kerry's been able to build a successful catering business around them.
"We always joke we're going to get the head-sets soon and you can drive through the alley and place your order!" Kerry laughs.
As for future plans...
"I think I'm done with the fine dining side of it. I'd like to maintain what I've got. So, I think do one thing and do it well."
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