Chef, Owner

Holly Smith


About Holly Smith

Holly Smith, James Beard Best Chef Northwest 2008, grew up in Monkton, Maryland. A student of political science at both Colby College and Washington College, she later attended the Baltimore International Culinary College, completed an externship in Ireland with Master Chef Peter Timmins, then made a move to Seattle in 1993, accepting a position with Tom Douglas at the Dahlia Lounge. In 2000, Holly made her own mark when she opened Café Juanita. For Holly, Cafe Juanita has been a labor of love. It has allowed the chef to express her passion for Northern Italian food and wine, enhance her commitment to organics and sustainability and provide a holistic approach to the dining experience while showcasing products culled from the Pacific Northwest. In 2015, she purchased the restaurant property, hired design firm Heliotrope to undertake a vast redesign, and today offers her guests inviting dining spaces indoors and out alongside Juanita Creek. Holly is immensely proud that she and Cafe Juanita have received acclaim and recognition locally and nationally: Four stars from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; 3 ½ stars from The Seattle Times; and, since receiving the Best Chef Northwest nod in 2008, multiple national nominations in many categories from the James Beard Foundation, including Outstanding Chef US, Outstanding Restaurant US, Outstanding Service US and Outstanding Pastry Chef US.

  • James Beard best chef PNW
  • Best Chef: Northwest
    James Beard Foundation

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  • Winner
    Iron Chef America
  • Top 50 Restaurants
    Gourmet magazine
  • Best Italian Restaurants
    Wine Spectator
  • Four Stars
    Seattle Post Intelligencer
  • Top 21 Restaurants in the USA
    Esquire magazine

Where I go out

At my venues