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“Savor Life. Save a Life” – Jason & Deborah Friend Wilson (S3 E20)

From March 3 until June 30 2022, Bloodworks Northwest will partner with dozens in the Seattle culinary community in hopes of recruiting 10,000 new or re-engaged donors. It’s called the Savor Life, Save a Life Campaign. As Bloodworks 101 producer John Yeager found out, for a couple of those culinary partners, James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Wilson and his wife, Deborah Friend Wilson – co-owners of the Bellevue restaurant The Lakehouse – the reason they’re involved in a blood donation campaign is personal. Episode transcript below this short video from the Savor Life. Save a Life. campaign launch event at The Lakehouse on 3/3/2022.

Debbie: If we are able to give blood, we do that. It’s a sacrifice for love, for care for others. And the time is now, more than ever, that we’ve all heard that need that we need to come out of our shells, and give what we can.

John: Hi. I’m John Yeager, and this is “Bloodworks 101,” the Anthem Award-winning podcast brought to you by your friends here at Bloodworks Northwest, designed to educate or inspire you to donate either time, money, or blood. The voice you heard at the top of the show there belongs to Debbie Friend Wilson, the Wellness Director at The Lakehouse Restaurant in Bellevue. Debbie and her husband, Chef Jason Wilson, own the restaurant. Jason is a James Beard Award-winning chef. That’s the gold standard for culinary excellence. In 2010, Jason won the prestigious award for his work at Crush, the restaurant he ran in Seattle from 2005 to 2015.

You’ve no doubt heard of the James Beard Awards. They’re given to chefs, authors, and hospitality professionals, they’re given annually. Voting is done by past winners, journalists, foundation members. Every year there’s a handful of semifinalists, between 8 and 16, with 3 to 4 finalists being chosen, and one receiving the award in New York City. What does an award-winning chef and his wife have to do with blood donation? You’re about to find out.

This month, Bloodworks Northwest is reaching out to Seattle’s culinary community, and launching the Savor Life, Save a Life campaign in response to our region’s blood emergency. The goal is to secure 10,000 new and re-engaged donors by the end of June. Where does the Lakehouse fit into that? Well now, that’s where this story starts, but wait till hear why meeting a goal like this is so important to Jason and Debbie.

I don’t know about you, but my first job in high school was as a busboy at a local Italian restaurant in Milwaukee where I grew up. A lot of people got their first job that way, bussing tables. I remember how busy it was, but I also remember the yelling, waiters yelling at chefs, chefs yelling at waiters, waiters yelling at busboys, and busboys yelling at…well, you get the idea. Restaurants can be pressure cookers. Food has to be good. At the best places, way more than just good. But the really good restaurants need that something special, especially now that many of us are going out again, as the pandemic, hopefully, begins to loosen its grip. It’s been a tough two years for restaurants. When you hear my interview with Jason and Debbie, you’ll know why we’re so eager to be partners with them for this campaign. I spoke to them at The Lakehouse a little while back. When you have a chef like Jason Wilson in the kitchen, it’s going to be special, but there’s more.

What makes Lakehouse special in your opinion?

Jason: I mean, I would say, first, it’s what we offer. It’s the people that offer it, and it’s where we are. So, it’s the setting here, it’s our food, and beverage, and then the team that serves it,

Debbie: I think the Lakehouse is really…it was designed to be a retreat, and an escape for people. So, I think that what’s special about it is that the space invites that, the people who work here have that kind of attitude. And the food here is very much about wellness, surprise, creativity, farm-to-table, healthy, so it’s really a celebration for all of the senses.

John: How would you describe the atmosphere here?

Jason: You know, this was inspired by this idea about the Pacific Northwest Farmhouse. So, we have this reference to what is classic, and what is old and original, and then what is brought in to be a little bit modern as well. You know, it’s a very familiar, it’s a very, I guess, accommodating, but ultimately very comfortable place to be.

John: And it sounds like a comfortable place to celebrate birthdays.

Jason: It is. There’s a couple here today, it’s really fun.

Debbie: I would say it’s also a place that really fosters connection, and I say this looking at tables here, you know, building memories, people who are excited to come out again, and sit around a table, and rediscover themselves, rediscover each other, and rediscover a relationship, whether it’s sitting on one side of the room and connecting to the other side of the room through the floor plan here. Or if it’s just connecting back to the food, and where it’s from, and what country it’s from, and what time of year it is. It’s a really…it fosters connection here, and I think we’re really proud of that.

John: Jason and Deborah say that in-house wellness is important. So, they brought in an in-house wellness director to prioritize mental health, and to promote a safe and sustainable work environment. That’s Debbie’s job. So, how does blood donation fit into all of this?

Jason: I think naturally, it’s really about responsibility to those in our community, in wellness director and the program, it’s responsibility to the people on our team, and ultimately to the betterment of our business. You know, blood donation is social responsibility at its core.

Debbie: I think that one of the mindsets that we all got familiar with through the pandemic is one of scarcity. I think that the pandemic introduced a lot of fear, and urgency, and loss, and change to so many people, and therefore, people started working, and living, and relating in a very emotionally scarce mindset. And as that relates to blood donation, scarcity, in that case, can mean death, quite literally.

John: Tell me about your involvement. Well, I guess, in a personal way, why are you a blood donor? You’ve got an appointment coming up?

Jason: Yeah, I have an appointment coming up, and I have donated blood in the past, both here in Seattle and San Francisco. I had a heart procedure, gosh, now 15, 16 years ago. I was born with a hole in my heart, with an ASD, an atrial septal defect. So, it was a hole between the top two chambers, and blood would recirculate, and the risk there is stroke. So, my doctors at a young age took a picture of it and said, “This will go away.” Many years later, I’m 33, I think it was. I know I was opening Crush, my first restaurant. And I said, “Let me get a physical.” One physical led to another, a trip to the cardiologist led to some in-depth photos and X-rays, and so on, and testing. And so, turned out I had atrial septal defect, a fairly large one, and a very angled one. So, we went in, after opening the restaurant, met with a cardiologist. That’s its own special story. And we did the first procedure. Because of the angle of the defect, so if you imagine that hole had an angle to it, they set off my heart into AFib. And so, it went from…I think it was 110 beats a minute to 186 in about 3 seconds.

So, all of the sedation I was on, that was gone. And so, went through that. They had the catheters in for 12 hours, real painful procedure. But we revisited it three months later. And in about two and a half hours of the similar thing with a different deployment, they fixed the defect. And it’s a pretty fascinating device they use. Both of those procedures, you know…I knew this at the same time, there was an opportunity for it to fail, and there was an opportunity for the closure to fail. And if the closure failed, I had to go right to the OR, to the operating room. So, at the same time they were doing my procedure, they held a live operating room with backup for four bags of blood, they had all of the procedures ready to go all set out. So, to prepare for a cath lab, they had to prepare an OR as well. Both times I went and they said, “Okay, this doesn’t work, you’re going right to the other room, because we have to fix this.” So yeah, here I am 15, 16 years later, and, you know, loving life, and being very active and all that but I look at it like, you know, definitely part of social responsibility. But definitely, it affects more people’s lives than we would know.

Debbie: Blood donation has truly helped to save my life. And I’ve seen it save the lives of others. I received blood when I delivered my first child. And it just really…as I think about that, in hindsight, we can’t plan when, or why, or how that need for blood is going to come up. But if it’s not there available, we run the risk of significant harm and loss in our society, and the real deal is, it’s not necessary. We can all step up and integrate and come together to help one another and keep us healthy.

John: I’m looking at the National Blood Emergency that the Red Cross declared. And now for a lot of reporters, the people that I deal with in my job, but also for a lot of donors, it’s on their radar for the first time in a while because it’s a national blood emergency. I mean, this campaign couldn’t come at a better time.

Jason: Why now? I mean, I think why now answers the most impending question of the need. And it’s very true that we haven’t heard about this for a while. I mean, I think all the past two-plus years, all we’ve heard about is the crazy pandemic, the things that have happened to have upheaval in our lives. And this is…the time for this is now.

Debbie: I’m thinking of the notion that we give what we can and we take what we need. I think that in the pandemic, in the last few years, we’ve really gone back to basics in terms of knowing the important resources that we all need to survive and to thrive, and feeling that responsibility to do something and give. So, if we are able to give blood, we do that. It’s a sacrifice for love, for care for others. And the time is now, more than ever, that we’ve all heard that need that we need to come out of our shells, and give what we can.

John: Then we started talking cooking shows, you know, where chefs like Gordon Ramsay scream at restaurant staff and restaurant owners. If you watch shows like “Hell’s Kitchen,” “MasterChef,” “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back,” you know the guy.

Gordon Ramsay: The meat is stinking. You are now a walking liability, you’re costing this restaurant thousands. Do you have any standards? Who cleans this? Your kitchen’s a warzone. Oh, my God, look at that. What’s wrong with you?

John: They scream in the kitchen, they use those for the promos that…you know, about him dressing down somebody?

Jason: Yeah.

John: And that, for a long time, for a lot of people has been the restaurant business, at least when it’s in the kitchen. And sounds like you guys are addressing that, right? Systematically.

Jason: Systematically, we address this. It hurts having seen, I think, what is promoted through those shows, that it’s a degradation of a team member, or that it’s, you know, putting someone down, making someone…you know, ridiculing them. That is how the show is sold, as that is excitement for people, and they see that could be what life is like in the kitchen.

Gordon Ramsay: The most disgusting kitchen ever.

Jason: You know, I think, I’m not perfect by any means and, you know, I’ve had my share of growing up in that level of industry, or the industry when it was like that, it’s changed, thus I’ve changed too, and kind of grown with the profession. What we address here, and the way we work here is ultimately about, you know, having the respect of each other, about having the ultimate respect for our guests, and the food that we work with. And recognizing that we’re not out saving lives, you know. We’re here talking about Bloodworks Northwest and the campaign to raise more awareness around the need for blood. That’s saving lives. So, I think about it in this contrast of, you know, here we are, chefs, thinking that we’re making this wonderful food that’s going to take care of our ego, and, you know, make us as popular as Gordon has been. And so, as a result, we get to treat others poorly. I would think that, you know, in reflection, we’re saving lives by donating blood. Maybe we should get heated up about that versus, you know, hamburgers and fancy pasta.

John: I then asked Jason, what’s harder to do, win a James Beard Award…remember, there’s only one given out each year. What’s harder to do, win a James Beard Award, or run a restaurant during a pandemic?

Jason: It’s such a difficult question to address that without saying that the James Beard Award is definitely an outward-facing challenge or achievement, and surviving the pandemic, running a restaurant through it is both internal and external. You know, for the longest time I’ve been in this state of optimism and so forth. And pandemic hits, and we watch what we’ve built and what we’ve grown, and a lot of my confidence, a lot of my abilities, and identity, and who I am, the rug and the floor was just pulled right out. So, you know, it’s really…it’s dealing with, you know, a sense of scarcity with unknowing, with the obligations that we have, all of those things become an internal struggle as well. So, I think it’s two challenges, and I feel fortunate and grateful that I’m able to do both.

Debbie: Winning a James Beard Award, having not won one myself, is an external validation of an achievement. And it feels good. It’s a title and we love… And Jason has earned it, and it’s impressive, and it’s an external thing. What we learned in the pandemic was, the real work is digging deep in hard times, I think the pandemic and hardship introduces us to ourselves, it’s sort of the feeling of who are we really inside? And how do we rise through challenges? And where is our resilience, and what is resilience? So, I could never make that comparison with what’s harder, or whatever, but I do know that the deep digging that’s been involved through the pandemic, and face-to-face with industry ruin that nobody saw coming, really was an exercise in humility and leadership.

John: The Lakehouse is a warm, inviting, you know, Pacific Northwest, inspired by design farmhouse. And for me, it’s got a little bit of old, a little bit of new, but it’s a restorative place.

Debbie: The Lakehouse is all about innovation, and Jason’s career has largely been about innovation in food. I think now it’s time to really look at the industry in terms of innovation from a human perspective, and how can we make the industry more sustainable in terms of the people. So, we talked before about the Gordon Ramsay phenomenon, and the spectacle of the chef shouting, and what have you. We’ve learned that the issue really is in education. We have intensive training programs here where we actively talk to everyone on our team about boundaries, about active listening, about how to deal with burnout, about substance use, and therefore…and multicultural issues. We have whole seminars about bias and diversity, so that we can understand the language that we speak, the emotional literacy that’s going on here. And I…

You know, change takes time. And we learn from what we see, not from what we hear. So, if we have a restaurant here, that even in a few generations, if we have a young person working here and goes on to make their own restaurant one day later, after we’re gone maybe even, they know that there’s a better way to lead, and to listen, and to inform, and treat each other. And frankly, it’s for the sake of restaurants in general. Everybody wants to be able to come out to a nice place to eat. We need these restaurants to be a functional integrated environment that is culturally sound, and humble, and skilled in basic leadership. And it’s a lonely road sometimes, but we’re really working hard to innovate and elevate the people that make this restaurant possible.

John: And here I thought this was just a place to eat. We’re so excited to have you guys at this campaign. I mean, it’s just…it’s a real honor to have you as partners. And I think we’re going to do great things. I think the 10,000 new donors is going to be done. I think we’re going to do it.

Debbie: I think it’s amazing to be part of this coalition of people in the restaurant industry and the food scene in Seattle. One thing we learned, boy, did we come together as a group, as an industry during the pandemic. We need each other, we are more connected peer to peer than ever. And it’s really exciting to take those new-found and re-energized relationships into programs like Savor Life, Save a Life, and really, really make something good happen together, locking arms as a community to help people learn more about donating blood.

John: Thanks, you guys. Thanks so much.

John: The Savor Life, Save a Life campaign, includes restaurants and local stars like The Lakehouse, Cafe Juanita, Misha, The Cricket Club, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, The Intentionalist, Brandi Carlile’s wine XOBC Cellars, Ben’s Bread, DRY Botanical Bubbly, Savor Seattle, DOMO Collective, Tarra Plata, and finally the Pike Place Market.

One last thing, throughout this campaign if you donate blood, you’ll have a chance to win a one of a kind culinary experience. More about that soon. The Savor Life, Save a Life campaign goes until June. Well, that’s just about it for this edition of “Bloodworks 101.” I’m your host John Yeager. See you next time.

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Bloodworks Northwest Joins Blood Emergency Readiness Corps

On May 1,Bloodworks Northwest joined 30 blood centers across the nation to form the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC), a first-in-the-nation partnership among community blood centers around the country to ensure blood availability whenever and wherever disaster strikes.

Bloodworks’ joining BERC means (1) that local donors can directly help when mass casualty events like natural disasters or mass shootings occur elsewhere in the United States, and (2) that when needs in our community exceed our local supply, other blood centers will be prepared to quickly transport blood to our region.

Bloodworks Northwest is the sole provider of blood to more than 95% of the hospitals in Western Washington and Oregon. As part of the BERC partnership, Bloodworks commits to storing extra units – approximately 15 units of O negative and O positive blood – on a rotating “on call” schedule to be available for BERC members for immediate emergency need.

Bloodworks will be on call for seven days during a three-week rotating schedule beginning in June. If the units are not used, the units will be put back into the local inventory for distribution.

“Bloodworks Northwest stands ready to assist other blood centers if called upon to provide emergency shipments to help communities in need near and far,” said Curt Bailey, President and CEO of Bloodworks Northwest. “This underscores the importance of having a strong inventory of blood available at all times in order to respond immediately when natural or man-made disasters happen in our local community and beyond.”

However, with regional blood supplies hovering around a 1-2 day supply, would there be enough locally- sourced blood if the Pacific Northwest was faced with its own mass casualty event?

“Our community is running dangerously low on the platelets and Type O blood needed to supply local hospitals, and straining our ability to provide transfusions for every cancer and surgery patient who need them,” said Bailey.

“If a mass trauma event were to happen today, we would not have enough blood available to help everyone who needs it. It is vital people donate blood to support everyday needs of patients as well as unforeseen emergencies.”

Curt Bailey, Bloodworks Northwest President and CEO

Before BERC, community blood centers facing a mass need event have relied on the goodwill of other blood centers to send additional units, which is sometimes limited or uncertain. With the country experiencing an ongoing nationwide blood shortage, creating an emergency blood reserve allows Bloodworks and other BERC members to know exactly how much extra blood they can count on.

To date, the program activated to support a mass shooting at a grocery store near Memphis, TN, a mass shooting at a school near Detroit, MI, and a mass casualty event brought about by a series of tornadoes throughout the Midwest. The recent shootings last weekend in Buffalo, Texas, and California highlight the need and effectiveness of an emergency reserve system.

In Washington and Oregon, 1,000 donors per day are needed to keep the blood supply at a safe and reliable level, since every two seconds, someone in our region needs blood. It does not take much for the supply to drop: one snowstorm, one tragedy, one heatwave can send it back to an unsafe level.

To donate blood, schedule an appointment at or 800-398-7888. Same day appointments are available. There is an especially high need for donors heading into Memorial Day.

About BERC: The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps was founded in 2021 to meet the immediate transfusion needs of hospitals and their patients when faced with a large-scale emergency situation that requires blood transfusions. To learn more and see a list of participating blood centers, visit

To learn more about how blood emergencies on the ground at Bloodworks, listen to this episode of our podcast, Bloodworks 101, with Bloodworks Executive Vice President of Blood Services Vicki Finson titled “We Weren’t Going to Be Able to Help Them.”

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“From the Heart, to the Heart,” Chef Thierry Rautureau (S3 E23)

French-born Chef Thierry Rautureau has been a pillar of the Seattle culinary for decades as the visionary of such seminal restaurants as Rover’s Loulay, and Luc. When we approached him to join our Culinary Coalition in support of blood donation, he eagerly agreed and said in his interview with Bill Harper, “without blood, there is no life.” Well said, Chef. À table! 

Click here to listen to this delicious podcast episode and when you’re done, don’t forget to SCHEDULE A BLOOD DONATION APPOINTMENT too! Below is a transcript of this episode.

(L to R) Chef Thierry Rautureau, Bill Harper & John Yeager

Chef Rautureau: Well, here we go. It’s Sunday morning. Guess what? I couldn’t find anything better to do than going to give my blood. Why? There is such a high need. Come on. It’s free. It’s simple. Those guys are super nice, welcoming, and it takes five minutes to do. Just do it.

[foreign language 00:00:21-00:00:40] .

Bill Harper: Hi. I’m Bill Harper, and this is Bloodworks 101, an Anthem Award-winning podcast from the Pacific Northwest Primary Blood Center that’s designed to inspire you to donate time, money, or blood. Bloodworks is currently hosting a region-wide campaign to partner with the Pacific Northwest’s best chefs, brewmasters, and purveyors of delicious delicacies to inspire 10,000 new donors by June 30th.

We’re calling it “Savor Life, Save a Life,” and it is magnifique. And one of those chefs is Thierry Rautureau, the French-born James Beard Award-winning chef of such Seattle culinary institutions as Rovers, Loulay, and Luc. Known as “The Chef in the Hat,” he’s one of my personal heroes. And on a gray March Sunday, he came in to donate blood. And I sat down to ask him about his life, why food is like blood, and why now, of all times, he’s asking food lovers everywhere to donate blood. [foreign language 00:01:35] .

Chef Rautureau: And, you know, it’s like restaurants are just like anything [inaudible 00:01:42] . If it’s really good and really small, the guy at the helm eventually has to quit.

Bill Harper: Yeah. That’s…

Chef Rautureau: Nobody lives forever.

Bill Harper: Yeah.

Chef Rautureau: So it brings me back to the next subject. Nobody lives forever; however, in order to live, you gotta eat, you gotta drink, and you most definitely have to donate blood because your good blood is good for someone else as well. And it’s so painless to do it, so simple. Just need to take the time. Make the appointment. Come and visit. In 30 minutes, you’re in and out.

Bill Harper: [foreign language 00:02:18-00:02:57] .

Chef Rautureau: And in the middle of all this, you speak perfect French.

Bill Harper: [foreign language 00:02:59] .

Chef Rautureau: How does that work? How does that work? To translate what he just said, if anybody needs translation, he says reading the white lines on the bottom of the screen he was just mentioning how he had leukemia a few years ago. And you know what? That’s what saved your life.

Bill Harper: [foreign language 00:03:18] .

Chef Rautureau: All that blood collected from people donating, and it’s so easy. You can save one’s life so easily. One pint, one life. By the way, how you doing today?

Bill Harper: Great. Perfect. No problems at all.

Chef Rautureau: Wow.

Bill Harper: Just had recent surgery. So that’s why the crutches, but I had a stem cell transplant from a girl from Oklahoma, saved my life. And I got 267 transfusions of blood from Bloodworks. I was a patient at Seattle Children’s for eight years. And physicians there, they couldn’t have done the work that they did for me in chemotherapy and surgeries without the blood from Bloodworks. And so…

Chef Rautureau: 267 pints.

Bill Harper: Yeah.

Chef Rautureau: That’s 267 donation.

Bill Harper: Yeah.

Chef Rautureau: That’s so little to save one’s life.

Bill Harper: Yeah. This is…

Chef Rautureau: But it’s a miracle. I mean, you look like nothing has ever happened.

Bill Harper: Yeah. I mean, it’s just it’s so great to come back here and see people. And…

Chef Rautureau: No. Of course. Of course.

Bill Harper: Yeah.

Chef Rautureau: It’s like a family.

Bill Harper: Yeah.

Chef Rautureau: [crosstalk 00:04:11] .

Bill Harper: It’s good just to know that, you know, like, when I was in those hospital beds at Children’s, like, there are people out there coming in, taking their Sunday morning, Sunday afternoons, and taking time to save my life without even knowing my name or anything about me. So when was the last time you donated blood?

Chef Rautureau: I donated blood when I was 17 years old in France.

Bill Harper: [inaudible 00:04:31] .

Chef Rautureau: So that was… It was a long time ago. Let me see. Seventeen, you know, in ’62. So you do the math.

Bill Harper: So we came to you. Now, what’s the “Savor Life, Save a Life” campaign? And so what’s really driving you to want to be involved in this program, be involved with us? What? Like, why now?

Chef Rautureau: Well, as mentioned before, you know, when we had the [inaudible 00:04:53] the restaurant industry is one of those industry for some reason you hear “I need,” and somehow they show up.

Bill Harper: Mm-hmm. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:05:03] .

Chef Rautureau: I mean, at the worst of day, broken down, you still show up. Why? Just because it doesn’t… I think one of the main reason is it doesn’t involve cash. It only involves time, and it involves spirit. And it involve belief in the community. It involve, you know, believing in the support of each other. Today, I’m healthy, and I’m joyful. You might be broken and hurting. You know, and that’s just the way life goes. Not everybody is all at once up, and not everybody’s down at one time. So when you’re up, you have to think of the people who are down because, just so because, tomorrow it could be you. You know, you don’t donate anything in life. That’s what donating means. It means you’re not thinking, “I’m gonna need it.” You’re thinking, “They need it.” Right? That’s what the word “donate” mean. “Donate” doesn’t mean you’re thinking, “What am I gonna get back for it?” That’s business. That has nothing to do with donation. Donation is when your heart says, “That’s the right thing to do for the people that needs it.” So you donate without thinking because you can. That’s all there is to it, not, “I have money so I can buy anything I want” because you can. That’s a different story. This one is donation. It’s from the heart, goes straight to the heart.

Bill Harper: Yeah. Donating blood is literally a gift from the heart.

Chef Rautureau: Yeah. Absolutely.

Bill Harper: [foreign language 00:06:31] .

Chef Rautureau: From the heart to the heart. I mean, from one heart to another. It’s like a little love story.

Bill Harper: It is a love story.

Chef Rautureau: Probably is love of life, for sure.

Bill Harper: Absolutely. Yeah. So how did Chef Rautureau from a small town in France who came to America on a newspaper ad with $14 in his pocket end up in Seattle?

Chef Rautureau: Started with 14 bucks in my pocket and never looked back. I was in Los Angeles for five years and then came to Seattle to see that same buddy had moved back up to Seattle with his wife, Caroline, and so went to visit Cyril and Caroline in Seattle and went to this place called Rover’s, had just got the little review in the LA Time. And little house converted into a restaurant, very small, 24 seats. Went into there. So bought the restaurant with a partner, and two years later, I bought my partner and never looked back. Been flying solo ever since, and it’s been an incredible career. You know, in the last two year… No, not two years. In the last six months, and I have no restaurant left. You know, been working, and just the paperwork needs to be wrapped up and all that. But in general, I don’t have to go to restaurant every day. And I start looking back a little bit, which I never done in my entire life. It’s a bit weird and scary to see how much one can do in a lifetime. That’s a lot of blood, as they say. You know, it’s like lot of sweat, lots of tears, and lots of blood is given into that life. I feel like I’ve already worked two lifetimes since 14 years old. You know, the average day is such a long day. It’s like I’m 62. So at 61, I worked from 14 to 61. I’m like, “Yeah. In terms of hours, that’s definitely two lifetime of work.”

Bill Harper: Yeah. Well, yeah. That summer that I was working in that French restaurant, it was 18-hour days 6 days a week. Yeah.

Chef Rautureau: And it’s not a joke. I was 14 years old. I was skinny like a green bean, like a small kid. I wasn’t tall. I was short on top of it. So that doesn’t help, but, I mean, I would work 7:30 in the morning. You would come downstairs. You have your coffee, your cigarette…

Bill Harper: [inaudible 00:08:52] .

Chef Rautureau: …non-filter first thing in the morning. I mean, talking about the worst health ever. Most importantly, the heart was definitely taking a beating because you were pumping really hard all day long. But anyway, yeah. I mean, you start at 7:30 in the morning. The chef would come at quarter to eight. We had an 1897 coal stove, all beautiful porcelain and metal and, of course, iron. But every morning, we’d have to fill up the… Three times a day, we had to fill up from the pile of coal and then fill up the stove, taking the rings off, filling up the stove. I mean, looking back, I’m like, “That’s pretty cool. Looking in, absolutely horrible.”

And the chef would walk in. He was just like, oh, you wouldn’t believe this. This person was a monster, but he would walk in and be like, “What are you guys, not awake this morning?” Like, anyway, shaking all day long, smoking bad cigarettes, and eating chicken wings for dinner. You know, it’s like whatever. It’s like it was just horrible.

Bill Harper: Chef certainly has come a long way from those days, with three beautiful restaurants in Seattle winning the highest accolades in the culinary world. After the pandemic shut down his last two, what’s next for Seattle’s “Chef in the Hat”?

Chef Rautureau: I think I’m in a stage in my life where consulting, you know, doing jobs like that perfectly, I’ll use my experience to help, you know, to input into other businesses. But physically being on the line, now way. I can’t do it no more, and this is not a weak person talking. This is a smart person talking. I’ve already spent 60 years, most of my 60 years, working. Is this a goal of me to die in the kitchen? Never. I am not that guy. I wanna see the world. I want to see more of the diversification we have offering on this planet. I’m not the kind of person that just want one thing. I’m not monochromatic, I hope. I mean, I love what I do. Don’t get me wrong. It’s been my life. It’s been so fun. You know, having the chance in a lifetime to have a restaurant like Rover’s where you can just play every single day at your craft is one of the biggest wish anyone should have.

Bill Harper: [crosstalk 00:11:19] .

Chef Rautureau: I never knew this was gonna be like that, but I’m glad I walked that life. You know.

Bill Harper: You contributed to the entire food culture in the city and, I think, well, the country too. I mean that’s…

Chef Rautureau: And I’m glad I was part of that movement or part of, you know, helping or part… I don’t even know if it was any help. I think it was a… You know, restaurants are like blood. You need them. You need that blood to be part of your community. You know, it’s part of us. What would life be without a restaurant or a bar? It’d be pretty sad. I mean, it would be very sad. We saw that during COVID where you couldn’t get out of your house or you couldn’t go into public places. How much was that missed? Tremendously. It changed our entire life.

That was a very sad… I don’t think people do well without the social part of life, you know, which brings back the whole thing to what we started with. We live in a community. We are sensing each other.

You definitely need to have and donate blood because, you know, without blood there is no life.

So, you know, that great campaign that’s happening right now, “Savor Life Save a Life,” is such a great momentum because all those restaurants everyone needs to eat. And the saying is if you go out and you’re gonna go into a restaurant and you’re gonna give life to that restaurant.

The same thing is true for blood. You go to the Bloodworks, and you just donate your blood. And you save a life, and it’s such a simple, simple thing to do. Make an appointment. Show up. Give your blood. Save a life. I mean, in four steps, you just saved someone’s life. It’s very simple.

Bill Harper: Many thanks to Chef Rautureau and all the other participants in our “Savor Life Save a Life” blood donation campaign. I like what Chef said there, “from the heart to the heart,” like a [foreign language 00:13:20] or [foreign language 00:13:22] or the last blood transfusion before a child reaches remission, the best things in life really do begin in the heart. Merci beaucoup for listening, and please remember to subscribe.

I’m Bill Harper with Bloodworks 101 asking to please go to and make an appointment to donate blood. Make that donation by June 30th, and you can enter to win a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. [foreign language 00:13:50] .

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“It Takes All Types at Three Magnets Brewery” (S3 E24)

Something special is brewing at Olympia’s Three Magnets Brewery.  It’s a new blood orange red IPA that’s part of a blood donation awareness campaign with Bloodworks Northwest called, “Savor Life Save a Life.” And on this edition of Bloodworks 101, producer John Yeager tells us that there’s a lot more to this special beer than ingredients like hops and barley and even the creativity of the brewers. If you want to find the heart of this story, just ask Sara Reilly, one of the co-owners at Three Magnets. 

Click here to listen to this delicious episode if our Bloodworks 101 podcast and when you’re done, be sure to schedule a blood donation appointment too; you never know who’s out there counting on you for help. Below is a local news spot about the “It Takes All Types” launch, followed by a transcript of this episode.

John: One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. All right, can you tell me who you are and what you do?

Sarah: My name is Sarah Reilly. My husband and I own Three Magnets Brewing Company in Olympia, Washington.

John: So why are you guys involved? Well, just give me an overview about what’s going to happen regarding Savor Life with you guys here.

Sarah: Yeah, so we were asked to join the campaign to brew a special beer for it. And we are doing that in collaboration with many different organizations, Lucky Envelope Brewing, Flatstick Pub, of course, Bloodworks, and Imperial Yeast. We’re making a blood orange IPA for it, which is kind of a [inaudible 00:00:52], I suppose.

The reason why we wanted to get involved was partially because blood transfusions helped save my father’s life. While he was going through some heart failure, he ended up with a heart transplant. And of course, blood is an imperative part of that process.

John: So could you tell me who you are and what you do?

Jim: Yeah, my name is Jim Ellsner. I’m a retired sales rep with an oil company.

John: So, Jim, tell me about what went through…well, what you went through in that period before you had to get the heart transplant, and then just bring us along for that ride, if you will.

Jim: Sure, I was working, and in January of 2011, my heart pretty much went into heart failure. And I spent a few weeks at the local hospital at Providence, working with my cardiologist and everyone there, and was slowly but surely dying.

And my cardiologist, thoughtfully, about two years prior to that, knew that, at some point, I was going to need more help than he could give. And he sent me to the University of Washington, the Northwest Heart Center. And I met with a doctor up there, Dr. Wayne Levy.

And so, I had an association with this fellow. And in January of 2011, my heart pretty much went into failure, and they did as much as they could for me in Olympia, and then sent me to the University of Washington. And within a few days up there, they ended up putting an LVAD heart pump in me, a little rotary vein pump that runs all the time. It was pretty cutting-edge stuff at the time. And in fact, our ex-vice president, Dick Cheney, had one just like that.

And so, I think I was somewhere, like, maybe in the 40s, number 44 or something like that, of the number of LVAD heart pumps they’d put in. And now they’ve done just tons of them. And as a result of that, I was on that for about 23 months, whereupon, I finally got a heart and had a heart transplant in December of 2012.

And so, as you know, during things like that, they have to put you on a heart-lung machine and transferring fluids in body, you know, blood and everything around. And so, the blood was a very big part of it, and I used a lot of it.

And so, I’ve been very grateful to, you know, the Blood Center and to the University of Washington for giving me an opportunity to live a longer, fuller life.

John: So when you see people donate blood now, it’s personal?

Jim: It’s very personal. Yeah, there’s such a demand for it now. And I guess now, especially. And I think most people just don’t realize how big a need that there is out there. Every day, there’s a huge need.

John: And what do you feel like seeing him…having him around for a few more years?

Sarah: Yeah, I mean, my dad was only 59 when he went into heart failure. I was married, but I didn’t even have children yet. Now I have a 6 and 8-year-old that have a grandfather that they would not have had if the technology wasn’t around and if the donations weren’t around. So very grateful to have him around. We did lose my mother five years ago. And so, it’d be pretty hard to have lost both parents so young. Yeah.

John: So what’s your message for people out there? I mean, I can pretty much fill in the blank. But personally, how do you want people to consider blood donation right now? What’s your message to people, in short?

Sarah: I think giving blood is something that’s very simple, doesn’t take very much time, but makes such a massive impact. People just have to remember that it’s something they need to do and try to make make it a regular basis and constantly give. And, you know, it really makes an impact, something very simple that can save a life.

John: So, as far as Three Magnets, give me an idea as far as what you guys are doing for the campaign or how we… Yeah, give me an idea of what you’re doing for the campaign.

Sarah: Yeah, the whole idea behind this campaign is to make sure that people are aware that there is not enough blood right now. It’s critical levels. And so, really, we’re just trying to get the word out. So that will be on our can, and that message will be given across at many different restaurants and pubs throughout the Pacific Northwest to just remind people that it is a dire time.

John: Is there a special brew that you guys are making?

Sarah: Yes, yeah. Blood orange IPA, along with Lucky Envelope Brewing. It seems appropriate, of course, because of blood. And then you always think of blood donations and orange juice. And, you know, just a little reminder to people and also kind of funny at the same time.

John: Is there anything else that you’d like to add that I didn’t ask? Jim, what about you?

Jim: You know, I think one of the things that’s important is for people to really think about this is, it is such a simple thing giving blood. And what most people really don’t put in their mind is that it could happen to you. Tomorrow, you could be in a car wreck.

Tomorrow, you could have a massive hemorrhage or something and need a massive amount of blood. And so, we’re all vulnerable, and it’s important to just get out there and let that little simple thing save somebody’s life, and it might be their own.

John: Thank you. Thanks, guys.

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