Orfeo: Eat. Cook. Love!
March 30, 2016
Authored and photographed by Patrick Allcorn
When we talk about food fusion, we are referring to cuisine that is a combination of ingredients or methods from two different regions or cultures. Two people from opposite ends of the globe can create a fusion – resulting in an amazing partnership as is the case with Kevin and Terresa Davis, owners of the newly opened restaurant,Orfeo.
Kevin grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Terresa was raised in Australia. In the latter part of the 1980s, Kevin saw a newspaper ad seeking a New Orleans chef to run the kitchen for a jazz club called Bacall’s. The catch: Bacall’s was located in Adelaide, Australia. Having cooked all around the world, Kevin was always up for an adventure, so he took the job having never set foot in the restaurant. Little did he know that upon arrival, he’d meet the young woman who would eventually become his wife, business partner, and mother of their four children.
“I got off the plane and went straight to the restaurant and it was locked. I saw this nice looking Australian woman standing there and asked if she worked here. She said ‘yes’ and that was about it,” Kevin said.
That young woman was Terresa, a Psychology major at the time, and also showing up to her first day of work at Bacall’s, as a server. She was immediately taken with this young American chef so much so, that the next day Terresa told her mother she had met the man she was going to marry. Of course, nothing was really official until she tasted the man’s gumbo. “I remember thinking, ‘why would anyone pay $10 for a bowl of soup?’ Then there was this event at the restaurant and people weren’t really eating the gumbo so I tried it,” Terresa recounted fondly, “I still remember that moment in time.”
While Kevin was equally smitten with his new coworker, he wasn’t quite as eager to tie the knot. “I told my brother, ‘I’m never getting married,’ I never saw myself as the marrying type,” he said.
Kevin’s stay in Adelaide came to an end in 1990 when he was offered the position of Executive Chef at the legendary Arnaud’s in the French Quarter of New Orleans. He would become the first American-born, and youngest Executive Chef in the classic Creole restaurants long history. Terresa made the long trip to visit her sweetheart and that’s when Kevin realized it was either get married, or never see her again.
After spending many years working together for other people, they seized the opportunity to go into business for themselves and opened their first restaurant,Steelhead Diner, in 2007. Their next restaurant Blueacre Seafood, was born in 2010 and a month after that, Terresa gave birth to twins. That was the hardest point of their marriage. “I remember it as a happy time, but I know it was very difficult,” Terresa said. The couple worked through those difficulties and have since added two more children and in August of this year, they opened their third restaurant, Orfeo.
“As a business team we have great respect for each other and work well together, but we have had a tendency to let our personal life slip. To tear ourselves out of the business side and relax is hard.” Terresa admitted. The couple now makes sure to enjoy a weekly Sunday brunch at Blueacre — their “untouchable time.” The other six days of the week, Kevin can be found giddily smiling next to the wood-fired oven at Orfeo. You may run into Terresa there as well, enjoying her favorite of the new restaurant’s offerings, a Bone-in Niman Ranch Pork Chop, with Roasted Figs, Soft Polenta, and Balsamic nage.
After nearly 25 years of marriage, she still can’t get enough of her husband’s food. “I’m his biggest fan,” she said.
Join us on our Gourmet Seattle Tour for a wine and food pairing at Orfeo!