Aaron Tekulve seattle

Fabulous People: Aaron Tekulve

Aaron Tekulve is the chef and owner of Seattle-based Surrell, a modern Pacific Northwest dining destination. The restaurant focuses on excellent hospitality showcasing nine- to 10-course tasting menus, as well as a four-course menu. Learn about Aaron Tekulve…

Follow at: @surrellseattle

Hometown: Coram, MT

First job: Dishwasher at a family friend’s cafe.

Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: On the Washington Coast with my family.

Your biggest accomplishment and why: My biggest individual accomplishment today is navigating the pandemic. We originally were supposed to open March 19 of 2020. Today, Surrell has evolved into a restaurant I am incredibly proud with an amazing staff. My biggest accomplishment though, which is shared with my wife, is the birth of our daughter. We had quite the road going through fertility treatments and a pandemic at the same time. She is a living affirmation of what can happen when two people love each other and work together to accomplish something magical. 

Aaron Tekulve surrell

The biggest obstacle you overcame: The dissolution of the band I was in from 2003 to 2012 (Your Divine Tragedy). It was a creative pursuit I spent the vast majority of my 20’s investing myself, time and money in. We did some amazing things! We were paying our rent from the money we earned playing shows and touring over a good portion of the country. Unfortunately, due to a severe injury of a YDT band member, we had to call it quits. When it came to an end, it was time for me to find a new path. But, when one door closes another opens, and that is what brought me back to the restaurant industry that I love so much. 

Someone who inspires you and why: Well, there are many people who inspire me: my mom, grandma, my dad, a myriad of chefs, and most of all my wife, Sarah. She is quite simply one of the most impressive people you will ever meet. Her life story is incredible, and she is such a fantastic person who regularly inspires me to make myself better at anything I do. 

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Find great a mentor, both in this industry and in business. And if you want to open a restaurant, get at least a minor in business management or take related courses.

Favorite quote: “Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement.” 

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I have been a fan of pr- wrestling most of my life!

What makes someone fabulous: Having empathy and patience for others.

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