The Mark and 909 win Burien Top Chef contest

The people have spoken.

So have the critics.

The people’s choice for Burien’s top chef is Rogelio Rios of the Mark Restaurant.

The food critics picked chef Ryan Nielcen of 909 Coffee and Wine.
Those were the results of the Burien Top Chef competition held March 20 at HomeTask Network in Burien.

All this was a preliminary event for the second annual Burien Bites on Sunday, June 2 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Participants will tour Burien restaurants sampling special bites prepared at each establishment. They will then vote for their favorite bite and the winning restaurant will be awarded the Burien Bites trophy.

Rios won the Top Chef people’s choice award with 56 points for his corn and black bean salsa fresca.

Second place went to 909 with 51 points and Sidestreet Kitchen garnered third place with 44 points.

Top Chef participants sampled dishes prepared at each competing restaurant. Each sampler was given five stones to vote with. They could use all five stones to vote for one chef or distribute them among multiple chefs.

The critic’s choice, Nielcen prepared two dishes—asparagus salad with a cilantro vinaigrette and fettuccine with mushrooms and asparagus.

The four critics awarded 98 points to Nielcen and 909. In second place was Joe Ladine of Chef 2 the Rescue with 93 points and Sidestreet Kitchen with 89 points was third.

“I’m pretty excited about this,” Nielcen declared. “I’ve never done anything like this before.”

Nielcen has worked at 909 in Olde Burien for three years.

The competition began with the chefs picking up a sealed box of four ingredients supplied by, an organic produce supplier that services Burien and other neighborhoods. The ingredients were cilantro, asparagus, tangerines and garlic.

The chefs took the boxes back to their establishments and prepare dishes using the ingredients. They could use other supplies from their restaurants but needed to highlight the four ingredients in their preparation. They had to return to HomeTask within 90 minutes with their finished dish for the critics and participants to sample.

Meanwhile, a videographer who filmed their adventure trailed each chef. The films will be available on YouTube. The volunteer videographers are also competing for prizes.

Jerrod Sessler, HomeTask CEO, estimated 120 people plus 30 to 40 additional members of participating restaurants and film crews crammed into HomeTask’s small downtown Burien headquarters for the event.

Proceeds from the Top Chef and Burien Bites events will go to local charities including the Highline Schools Foundation, Highline Food Bank, New Futures, YETI and HomeTask Cares Foundation.

The four food critics share an interest in healthy eating.

Burien resident Julia Bringolf is a food and wine enthusiast with special experience in fresh, healthy family meals that are easy to make.

Candice Clem is a local nutritional consultant and certified kettlebell instructor.

Annie Easter is the mastermind behind

Deanna Morauski writes for her food blog,, as well as hosting guests at her Snoqualmie bed and breakfast.

Other participating restaurants were Arcadia, Archie’s Mexican, Bison Creek Pizza & Pub, El Fogoncito, Emerald Cove Catering, Mama Sambusa’s African Kitchen, Mick Kelly’s Irish Pub and Osteria de Primo,

More details on the upcoming Burien Bites are available at or

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