Meet Julia Ossowski

Tell us about yourself! 

I grew up in an Italian-American family, where “what’s for dinner” is always the most important topic of conversation. From big celebrations and life events to average weeknight dinners, my mom reliably pulls together incredibly delicious healthy meals. I am very lucky to have learned from her and inherited her passion for cooking. 

My husband and many of our friends are career “creatives” - designers, photographers, filmmakers. For much of my life I never considered myself as having any special artistic skill, but around my 30th birthday I decided to really dive into cooking as a creative hobby. After over a year of cooking nearly every day, (and armed with amazing seasonal veg from Freddies!) I've only fallen more in love with the kitchen.

This past winter my team was impacted by the recent round of layoffs at Amazon. While it was a difficult moment, it gave me a chance to refocus on cooking in a way I previously hadn’t. I started an instagram account (@chefjuj_ ) where I am sharing my food, writing new recipes, and expanding my skills as a self-taught home chef. I can’t say quite yet where this new path will take me, but I am so thrilled to have Freddie’s on my doorstep every Friday along the way!

What are your favorite seasonal ingredients and/or  produce?

While I could sing the praise for summer tomatoes all day long, it feels more appropriate to talk about the winter veggies that are inspiring me right now. Leeks are great - just as versatile as an onion but with a little something special. I will always buy honeynut squash if I see them at the market - they’re the smaller, sweeter cousin of butternut. Easier to chop & peel and so good in a squash tart. This one is basic but I also truly love apples. I grew up in Arizona where the only apples at the supermarket were granny smith and red delicious, probably months old by the time they made it to shelves. When I moved to Washington I was blown away by the variety and quality! 

 What are three things we can always find in your kitchen or fridge?

  • A big 3-liter jug of Sicilian olive oil (right now I really like Frantoia brand) for refilling the smaller bottle that sits on my counter
  • 28-oz cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes, for whipping up a great sauce at any moment
  • In the fridge I always have a “vase” of herbs, usually parsley and cilantro.

Favorite local businesses, restaurants and shops? 

Big John’s Pacific Food Importers (PFI) - This is a family-owned Italian imports store where I stock up on nearly all my pantry basics: olive oil, spices, the best selection of dried pastas and really affordable wine. They also have an incredible cheese & olive selection (I think the most affordable Castelvetrano olives in the city!).

Book Larder - A bookshop filled with only amazing cookbooks, the downfall of my bank account.

Armistice Coffee - In a city with a thousand options for great coffee, it’s not hard to find your favorite. We used to live next door to Armistice coffee and we remain loyal! It’s a female-founded and owned coffee roaster, with a few beautiful shops around the city. We even gifted little bags of their freshly-roasted coffee beans to guests at our wedding!

Sea Wolf - I don't think the wonders of Sea Wolf bakery is a secret to anyone, but it hasn't always been easy to find excellent bread in Seattle. Sea Wolf is the best sourdough, hands down.

What is your ideal meal or favorite recipes to cook?

I really love a “Sunday project” recipe - something you tend to or have simmering on the stove all day on a relaxed Sunday afternoon. One of my favorites is a ragu Bolognese along with homemade fresh tagliatelle pasta. I’m always tweaking my recipe, but I think it’s almost perfect!

Follow Julia's cooking adventures at: Chef Juj

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