Café Presse and Le Pichet owners Jim Drohman and Joanne Herron have both long been fascinated by the food, wine and lifestyle of France. Jim left a career as an Aeronautical Engineer to train in the cuisine at l’Ecole Superior de Cuisine Jean Ferrandi in Paris. During his stay in France, he worked at several restaurants, including Le Boudin Sauvage and the Michelin rated Le Coq de la Maison Blanche. In 1991, he returned to Seattle and was chef at both Campagne and Café Campagne.
Joanne has worked in the service industry since 1981, including over 12 years at Market Place Caterers/The RUINS. Her interest in France began with her first visit to the French countryside at age 19 and has grown through many professional and personal visits. She has spent extensive time touring the wine producing regions of France, learning firsthand from winemakers and importers and has participated in the “vendage” or harvest of grapes in the Loire Valley.
Jim and Joanne opened Le Pichet in 2000 with the hope of recreating the personal, neighborhood style of restaurant they had come to love in France. Le Pichet continues to serve the Pike Place Market neighborhood under their direction and the supervision of Le Pichet Chef de Cuisine Jack Spiess and Dining Room Manager Sophie Guerrero.
With Café Presse, Jim and Joanne hope to build another type of Parisian institution, a Bar/Café. They hope that Café Presse will be the sort of place that Parisians use as a kind of alternative living room, to enjoy coffee and croissants in the morning, meet friends for lunch, dinner or drinks throughout the day or to have a late night bite or a night cap until 2am.
In charge of Café Presse’s kitchen is Chef de Cuisine Patrick MacWhorter. Patrick attended classes at the Culinary Institute of America before settling in Richmond Virginia. There he worked in a number of top kitchens, including as Sous-Chef at the Northside Grill and at Estillo restaurant, and Head Chef at 3 Monkeys Bar and Grill. In 2014, he moved to Seattle and joined the kitchen at Café Presse, initially as Sous Chef and and was promoted to Chef de Cuisine in the summer of 2015.
In addition, Café Presse is pleased to welcome Esther Harding as Dining Room Manager. Esther managed Café Campagne’s dining room for 3 ½ years, and has most recently held positions at Sambar/Le Gourmand and Le Pichet.
In July 2011, Jim announced the launching of his own blog – jimdrohman.com. The blog features news and upcoming events at Café Presse and Le Pichet, recipes, photo galleries and random thoughts about food. It also gives him a forum to discuss one of his passions, the home in the Southwest of France that he and his wife Sheila purchased in February 2011.
Café Presse is located at 1117 12th Avenue, near Madison Street.