I was born and raised in Chicago. I bounced around during my undergraduate years (Reed College to Bennington College to the University of California, Berkeley) but not before doing a stint on the Montana ranch of the poet and novelist Richard Brautigan where I met the writer Jim Harrison across the stove. I was cooking a pot of split pea soup. That sealed a friendship that has lasted over three decades. Frequent traveling companions, our periodic forays—which Harrison has dubbed “The Search for the Genuine”—have taken us to cities, towns and villages throughout France. Harrison has written about these jaunts in the short pieces he occasionally writes for Kermit Lynch’s newsletter and in articles written for Men’s Journal and Brick. Some of mine are included in the “Articles” on this website.

I’m a world traveler—sub-Saharan West Africa, Mexico, Europe, and North America—and have set up house in Ireland, England and Crete. I worked as a carpenter, teacher, freelance journalist, and bookseller before opening Campagne restaurant in Seattle in 1985 and Café Campagne nine years later. For some reason I can’t quite fathom, I’ve been called one of Seattle’s “Godfathers of Gourmet” (Pacific Northwest, November 2007).

Be that as it may, my restaurant career spans nearly thirty years. Campagne has been called “a French-accented finishing school,” and the cooks, waiters and sommeliers that compose the unofficial alumni association of Campagne and Café Campagne dot the culinary landscape in places as diverse as Whidbey Island, New Orleans and Bali. I was inducted into Nation’s Restaurant News “Fine Dining Hall of Fame” in 1996, and the restaurants have been featured in Food & Wine, Gourmet, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Travel & Leisure, and Bon Appétit, among others.

The wine country of the world always beckons. I’ve spent varying amounts of time in Italy, South Africa, Chile, and throughout California and the Pacific Northwest, but the bulk of my tasting experience is in France where I took annual tasting trips for nearly two decades.

I throw one hell of a party. The wine dinners I hosted at Campagne are legendary, and I fêted such culinary luminaries as Marion Cunningham, Joyce Goldstein, Patricia Wells, and Marcella Hazan. But I’ve remained close to the literary community, having served on the board of directors of Copper Canyon Press for nearly a decade before becoming its acting publisher in 2003. The list of writers I’ve entertained at my restaurants includes Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Philip Roth, Adrienne Rich, Stanley Kunitz, V.S. Naipaul, Richard Ford, Terry Tempest Williams, Michael Ondaatje, and W.S. Merwin.

Since selling the restaurants in 2005, I’ve devoted myself to writing and consulted on various restaurant projects in Seattle, Montana and California. I was a contributing editor for Virtuoso Travel & Life, and my columns, under the title “Wine Country Notebook,” can be seen on this site.

Dead in the Dregs is my first novel.