Meet Joel Handshuh, Executive Chef
Joel Handshuh’s favorite quote perfectly expresses what he loves about being a chef: “He who works with his hands is a laborer, he who works with his head and his hands is a craftsman, he who works with his head, his hands and his heart, is an artist.” -St. Francis of Assisi. Chef Joel says that cooking allows him to creatively express himself in a way that provides an immediate and tactile response. “Providing happiness for others through food is a feeling I have yet to match,” he says. Since joining us at The Lakehouse Bellevue in November 2017, Joel has been delighting guests with that creativity and passion.
Originally from Palm Springs, CA, Joel began his culinary career while attending the University of Arizona. His time at the Tubac Country Club gave him his first taste in fine dining and he fell in love with the culinary arts and began pursuing it full time. He briefly moved back to Palm Springs and worked for the Purple Palm where he met his first mentor who taught him about the nuance and dedication required to succeed in this field. Joel spent most of his culinary career in San Diego at the Grand Del Mar working in Amaya and the acclaimed fine-dining restaurant Addison. During his tenure, the Grand Del Mar earned Forbes 5 star ratings for three consecutive years and was recognized as top luxury hotel in the US.
Joel wanted to expand his culinary horizons and moved to Seattle. “I knew I wanted to be somewhere with strong food integrity and a diverse restaurant scene.” He joined former French Laundry chef, Mark Bodinet at Copperleaf, where he continued to expand his culinary repertoire and was shown how a true farm-to-table restaurant operates in this region. Joel was selected as a personal chef to one of Seattle’s most notable high net worth individuals and during the two and a half years in that position, was given exciting challenges and incredible opportunities to travel and develop his skills.
Lakehouse Executive Chef and owner Jason Wilson knew Joel was talented and hoped the two would work together at some point and The Lakehouse provided that perfect opportunity. Joel is excited to be part of a restaurant again and enjoys the “passion of the entire team and commitment to excellence” found at The Lakehouse.
When dining out, Joel’s favorite food to eat is a perfect ribeye or piece of seared fois gras, as well as sushi and In-N-Out Burger. When he cooks at home, he focuses on simple ingredients and trying new flavors and techniques inspired by culinary periodicals, social media and his travels. His favorite exotic cuisine experience was authentic Szechuan food. Joel and his girlfriend, Allison, have a “furry little buddy” named Marley and the four year old dog is the light of their lives. His parents and twin siblings, Kip and Casey, still live in the Palm Springs area and visiting them allows him to enjoy golf and hiking.
Fun fact: Joel was once a contestant and winner on Wheel of Fortune! You don’t need to buy a vowel or solve the puzzle to join Joel and his talented team for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner at The Lakehouse in the W Hotel Bellevue.