A Wild Woman of the Hood Canal: Chef Sara Harvey

May 17, 2023


Sara Harvey has been called “A Wild Woman of the Hood Canal,” but I don’t know her well enough to call her that. However, after our 30-minute conversation, I know she is wildly passionate about food, her work as Executive Chef at Alderbrook Resort & Spa, and her oyster farm.

When did the passion start? We know it did not start with some of her early college studies. First, Sara took classes in political science and then medieval studies. Although exciting topics at the time, she could not see this as a career direction for her.

She eventually switched paths and went to the Arts Institutes to earn a degree in Culinary Arts with honors. She enjoyed working with all the interesting people in the food & beverage industry and enjoyed working with her hands.

After college, Sara gained experience working in restaurants and hotels in the Greater Seattle Area for 7+ years. Then Sara and her partner were drawn to the idea of purchasing property and doing small-scale farming. However, property in the Seattle area was too expensive. They finally found property along the Hood Canal in the small community of Brinnon, with a population under 1000 and about a 2.5-hour drive west of Seattle.

They were on the Hood Canal in the protected waters of McDonald Cove, so they decided to oyster farm and started Sara’s Seashells LLC,  dba Black Shield Oyster. Her friends in Brinnon are fortunate to sample her oysters.

Since moving to Brinnon, Sara first worked at Alderbrook Resort and then at Hama Hama, a sixth-generation family-run shellfish farm. She learned a lot during her two years there.

In 2021 she went back to work for Alderbrook Resort and their sister firm Union City Market and, in 2022, was hired as Executive Chef at Alderbrook. Her commute to work is a beautiful drive: she turns left onto Hwy 101, drives 45 minutes along the Hood Canal, and arrives at work.

Campfire cooking

Sara is involved in many programs at Alderbrook. They have four Canal Cookouts a year, and these outdoor events are a unique and picturesque feast. They also have a culinary garden and have brought in a full-time gardener. Another event Sara works on is bringing in local farmers for a fun and informative “Meet Your Farmer Reception.” Finally, Alderbrook has a guided trail-to-table event, where you walk some of the many trails on the Alderbrook property and forage for your meal. Check out the events calendar


New pinot gris wine? Sara is working with Aluel Cellars on a new wine called Salacia. In Greek mythology, Salacia is the goddess of the sea. This wine will pair perfectly with oysters, of course. Even if you are not a fan of oysters, this wine will make a great summer drink.

This summer, we look forward to enjoying this new wine and the seafood Chef Sara offers.

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