Scout Thompson

We love this series that explores the lives of chef’s we love while in the kitchen – at work and at home. Chef Derek Simcik of Thompson Seattle’s Scout restaurant experiments with plates in a way that’s exciting, but still approachable.

We share his current obsession in the kitchen (see below) and will be fixated with his technique for cooking mushrooms til we officially try it ourselves. Get inspired by this talented chef as we explore the ins and outs of his approach to food and whip up his simple yet impressive tomato salad with the recipe below…

In my kitchen you’ll always find plenty of:

Butter and hot sauces.

Best food memory:

Eating crawfish, crabs and fried fish with family down in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Essential cookbooks:

Food philosophy in one sentence:

Make what you’re doing taste good; people just want good food.

Fav ingredient lately:

Ash or charcoal.

Midnight snack perfection:

Chili cheese fries.

Food you love to eat with zero prep/additions:

Chips (I’m a big snacker).

Most impressive dish:

Lemon ash marbled foie tourchon, fermented cherry gel, sprouted quinoa crisp.

Healthiest habit in the kitchen:

Drinking lots of water, staying hydrated.

Fave condiments:


Best bargain tip:

Buy whole chickens and break them down at home for your cuts of meat and turn the bones into chicken broth! Why buy boxes of broth full of sodium when you can make it at home in no time?

Fave veggie + what you make with it:

More of a fungi not a veggie, but mushrooms have been a fav of mine to use recently at home and at work! Simply pan roast, then deglaze the pan with sherry vinegar and a nice coating of herbs and butter on the mushrooms to finish. This is always nice with some toasted bread and a sunny-side-up egg.

Craziest thing I buy at the market:

In the past, when living in Santa Barbara, I would have said uni! Now living in Seattle, the fact I can get the freshest oysters and fish (salmon) at the farmers market is kinda crazy in a really good way!

Favorite splurge:

Red wine… I love red wine and don’t have a problem spending on great bottles even just for a nightly drink.

Your idea of an ideal dinner setting…

Al fresco on the waterfront, ideally a coastal beach.

Signature cocktail:


Simple go-to recipe:

Tomato salad.

Tomato Salad with crispy Speck + whipped fromage blanc


For the charred tomato vinaigrette:
2 lb heirloom tomatoes, charred on the grill
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic
2 Tbsp shallot
2 Tbsp basil
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp black pepper
Salt – to taste
sugar – to taste
olive oil – see directions
sherry vinegar – see directions

For the crispy speck:
1/3 lb paper-thin sliced speck or prosciutto
olive oil as needed
parchment paper

For the whipped fromage blanc:
1/2 qt fromage blanc
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste


For the charred tomato vinaigrette:

Grill tomatoes until charred. Combine tomatoes, red wine vinegar, garlic, shallot, basil, fennel seeds, pepper, salt, and sugar. Blend with a stick blender and allow to macerate for at least 8 hours. Then strain through cheese cloth. With the strained liquid for every 1 cup of charred tomato water, add 1/8 cup sherry vinegar and emulsify 1/3 cup of olive oil.

For the crispy speck:

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and lay out in a single layer without over lapping the sliced speck. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the speck and then bake off in 275 – 300 F oven until crispy – about 20 minutes or so. Remove and cool.

For the whipped fromage blanc:

Add the fromage blanc to a mixer set with a whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed until medium peaks start to form. Then add the lemon zest and salt and pepper and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. Stop and then scoop whipped fromage blanc to a pipping bag and refrigerate until ready to use.


Rough cut heirloom tomatoes and toss in a bowl with the charred tomato vinaigrette. Scoop a few large spoonfuls of tomatoes into a serving bowls then pipe dollops of the whipped fromage blanc throughout the mix of tomatoes. Garnish with a few pieces of crispy speck and some fresh torn basil. Sprinkle finishing salt and serve.

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