Interview with Chef Dakota Likewise - Don's Restaurant

June 16, 2017

Award winning Executive Chef Dakota Likewise recently joined us at Don’s Restaurant after an illustrious career as Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director at some of the most luxurious resorts and golf clubs from around the world. We recently sat down with him to talk about the fresh ideas and world class dining he is bringing to Don’s Restaurant in Soap Lake, Washington.  

Why did you decide to become a chef?

From an early age, 10 years old to be exact, I enjoyed making meals for myself and my grandma. I especially enjoyed cooking for my family for holiday events. When I turned 16, I got my first job in a restaurant. I have had almost every position that restaurants offer, from dishwasher, busser, server, kitchen positions and bartender. At some point, I made the decision to attend culinary school at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona, and I did an externship with Hyatt Regency Gainey Ranch.

Being a chef has allowed me to do a great deal of travel and be part of beautiful locations and facilities. I have continued growth in my culinary career as General Manager and Food & Beverage Director roles.

How long have you been in the food industry?

I have been in the food industry for almost 30 years now.

Where have you worked?

In my 30 years, I have worked at more than a dozen resorts and golf clubs around the world. From my first job in Scottsdale, Arizona, I have had the pleasure of working in Portland, Wyoming, several beautiful cities in Arizona, California, Florida and in New Zealand.

In your opinion, what makes for a good chef?

Passion, initiative, flexibility, love for travel, disposition and creativity.

What is your favorite food to eat?

I would describe myself as eclectic — I love lots of different styles of food. From the full flavors of Cuban and Caribbean food to simple, thoughtful meals, to intricate fine dining — I just love food!

What is your favorite food to cook?

I love cooking foods from most ethnicities. I really enjoy bringing something new or putting a twist on a classic recipe. Even though it’s not typically what I choose to eat, I love cooking seafood. Overall, I love adapting to fresh, local foods of any region or style.

Can you tell us about the new menu at Don’s Restaurant?

We are trying to keep the history and traditions of Don’s as a steakhouse alive. We still offer the comfort foods that guests have enjoyed for many years while sourcing quality ingredients. We’ve strayed away from frozen and boxed to more scratch production. We’ve also added some slight changes to classic dishes, and if we can, we still produce old favorites guests request. The new menu at Don’s is just a new approach to a classic restaurant.

What are your plans for Don’s Restaurant?

Along with our new owners making a substantial investment in the Inn at Soap Lake and Notaras Lodge, I hope to enhance the resort properties and Don’s Restaurant. Our goal is for it to be a destination for events, entertainment, weddings and business meetings — as well as dining. Not only are our efforts working toward growing and developing these properties — our goal is to ultimately develop Soap Lake as a place to be! We want to capture some of the history of this town as a bustling vacation spot that all types of guests to enjoy.

So, the next time you’re in the area, stop by Don’s Restaurant and enjoy some of Chef Dakota’s one-of-a-kind culinary creations! Follow Don’s Restaurant on Facebook for menu updates and special events.