Water is the driving force of all nature – Leonardo da Vinci
Maggie Trujillo spent most of her life far from the ocean, yet she says it is where she feels happiest and most at peace. As a competitive swimmer, she thrives near water so the sweeping views of Elliott Bay make Aerlume the perfect spot for this rising star chef. Born in Minnesota, Maggie grew up in Caldwell and Boise, Idaho. She says, “I grew up with an interesting perspective on food. My dad is a food scientist and microbiologist, so he taught me a lot about food growing up.”
While on a school trip to Paris, Maggie tasted her first perfect croissant and she was hooked and decided to turn her love of cooking into her career. After studying at Boise State University and working at the Parilla Grill, she enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu at Western Culinary Institute in Portland, OR where she met her husband, Jason, and earned her Culinary Arts degree in 2004.
After three years at the Hilton hotel in Portland, Maggie and her husband moved to Southern Oregon where she worked for Lela’s and then moved to the renowned Chateaulin in Ashland, eventually working her way up to executive chef. “My goal was to be an executive chef by 30- I did it at 28.” In 2012, she wanted to try something new and was the opening executive chef at Caldera Brewing Company. She designed the menu, developed the systems and mentored the staff. “I love teaching cooking techniques and how to balance flavors and am always incredibly proud when I watch those whom I have mentored succeed.”
Maggie’s experience working with a true farm-to-table restaurant began in 2014 when she joined Larks Restaurant at the Inn at the Commons in Medford, OR. “Larks is a completely scratch kitchen and I loved working with the local farmers, cheesemakers and foragers.”
Maggie and her husband, Jason, enjoy traveling, cooking together and spending time with family. Maggie’s parents and brother are also moving to Seattle so the family can gather for homemade gnocchi and Seattle Seahawks games.
Maggie began competitive swimming as a child and was nationally ranked for her backstroke. She now competes at the Masters level and has been nationally ranked top 10 times and swam her first open water 5K race in 2018. As an athlete and a chef, Maggie’s go-to foods include fresh vegetables and pinnacle-quality proteins and says the strangest thing she has ever eaten was in Mazatlán. “I tried a dish that translated to Grasshopper Oysters- they were really delicious. When I asked the server what the tasty crunchy garnish was on top of the oyster, he laughed and said that’s the Grasshopper. I loved them.”
Maggie’s love of the water and commitment to sourcing the best local ingredients perfectly match the inspiration for Aerlume. Leading the Aerlume kitchen brings Maggie close to the water she loves and presents an opportunity for her to expand her connections with providers by working hand-in-hand with Fire & Vine Hospitality farming partners including Fall City Farms, Sound Sustainable Farms and many more.
We are thrilled to welcome Maggie to our team. She will bring her passion, creativity and skill to the Aerlume kitchen when we open in the late fall of 2018.