Pictured is Chef Jeremy Hansen at one of his many Spokane restaurants, Inland Pacific Kitchen. To say that he is passionate about Spokane is an understatement. He has been a big part of the growth of the food culture of Downtown Spokane. He believes in the motto, “If you build it, people will come, but you have to do it for the right reasons”.

Why did you decide to become a chef?

Jeremy’s mom always cooked for the family, but he was an athlete so he wasn’t super interested in cooking. When he turned 15, he needed new football cleats so his mom told him to get job. The rest is history. Just kidding, but kind of. He got a job at a Mexican restaurant in Spokane as a dishwasher. The first day he showed up for work, they had a couple cooks quit, so he got right to work helping in the kitchen. Right out of high school, got job at Mustard Seed Downtown and later helped them open up a north side location. After working there for eight years, he got job with chef Jason Rex at Fugazi (sp?) where Post Street Ale House is now. This is where he really developed his passion for food. From there he went to culinary school in Portland, graduated at the top of his class, cooked in New York and Portland before he finally came back to Spokane around 10 years ago.

After that, Hansen got a job at a hotel and realized “if I was going to stay in Spokane, then I need to open something myself”. He wanted to be in a food-driven environment, giving people scratch made food, sourced locally. So, in 2008 Jeremy opened Sante with his wife, Kate. After that, they opened up Common Crumb Bakery in 2014 in Saranac Commons. Saranac Commons was Jeremy’s vision and he helped bring that space to life.

Ultimately, his vision was to open 5-10 places in Spokane, all completely different (charcuterie, bakery, seafood house, etc.). He makes all the sauces for each of his restaurants at Inland Pacific Kitchen, and all the baked goods at Common Crumb Bakery. Hansen’s next venture Hogwash Whiskey Den opened in November 2016 then Inland Pacific Kitchen quickly after on New Year’s Eve in 2016. His newest creation is Biscuit Wizard located in Saranac Commons. The menu at Biscuit Wizard is evolving to fries, sandwiches, burgers, but they will keep their biscuits, don’t worry.

Spokane cooks for Puerto Rico project: Hurricane Maria

Jeremy saw a massive need to go down there and help because he felt like America wasn’t helping as much as they should have. He felt inspired to go and so he made it happen. Jeremy does that; he makes things happen. He hosted a fundraiser dinner and earned $7,000 then got United Airlines to donate plane tickets. They showed up to Puerto Rico ready to work were ready to work and give the people some time off. Hansen, and his cook Aaron, teamed up with World Central Kitchen where they cooked for one of the cities hit hardest, Utuado. They set up a guerrilla style kitchen for Jeremy to run and provide people with real food instead of processed bread and candy they were being given from relief programs. They were cooking huge pans of rice & stew with various proteins and vegetables. People would come and pick up these huge pans (with 40 so meals) and take them to churches and other safe places where people were staying. They cooked an average of 2,800 meals each day. There were around 30,000 people in the area but only one main grocery store. People were miles away but there were bridges down so they couldn’t make it to the market.  As they are slowly but surely rebuilding Puerto Rico, Jeremy is working on figuring out more ways that he can help and serve.

What is your favorite cooking show?

Mind of a Chef, Master Chef Professionals: UK, Chef’s Table.

Is there a chef you admire the most? Why?

Jose Andreas, especially with what is he doing in Puerto Rico to help out right now.

A lot of respect and admiration for many: Thomas Keller, Daniel Ballou, Rene Redzepi, Curtis Duffy from Grace in Chicago – favorite meal he has ever had in his life.

What set of skills or characteristics do you have that you think set you apart?

Awareness of politics in food.

“I do everything I do for a reason” he said. He focuses on sourcing local and organic ingredients. Hansen has an art background that he brings that to everything he creates. He doesn’t do it for the money, he does it for the satisfaction and joy it brings to people. He is passionate about giving back to the community and helping it grow. All of his employees have opportunity for growth and development. He said, “It is important for people to want to be in this industry for the right reasons. You have to care about your product, about yourself, about your tools, and always be trying to develop yourself.” 

He puts all the chefs names on the menu because they are making it happen, helping create, and bringing new ideas.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Hang out with family: 5 year old son and 14 year old daughter. Jeremy loves science, geography, geology and he loves to hike and travel.

Where do you like to eat around Spokane?

I like to eat certain people’s food, not specifically a place. Travis Dickinson (Clover) Tony Brown (Ruins). He said he mostly eats at Phonthip Thai and Sushi Sakai downtown.

Do you have a signature dish? / What ingredients do you like to work with?

He will try everything at least once, but loves Indian food. “It’s all about the spices”.

What can we expect from your restaurants in the future?

They are redoing the menu a little at Sante (turning it into a Bistro and upping charcuterie) because he is opening up a restaurant in the Ridpath Building. He wants to make Sante more “approachable”. Also, stay tuned for more information on his Gin Bar coming to Ridpath hopefully in February or March of 2018.

He is also developing “509 Cooks” (nonprofit) and creating a little space that he is turning into a food and cocktail lab.

What is your favorite thing on the menu at your restaurant?

Sante: Gnocchi, Charcuterie

IPK: Monk Fish – Black Cod – Desserts

You’re on death row, what would your last meal be?

Nigerian Salt Prawn cooked medium rare (this dish is on his NYE menu at IPK)

If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?

1. Chef Knife

2. Fishing Net

3. Flint

What is your favorite cereal? You can tell a lot about a person based on their favorite cereal…

Steel Cut Oatmeal