Tyler Schwenk is the executive chef at 1898 Public House, the gastropub at the former Spokane Country Club.
Since the Kalispel Tribe bought and reopened the historically private club more than two years ago, the gastropub – along with some tee times – have been open to the public. The expansive dining room and back umbrella-dotted deck both offer sweeping views of the green.
The menu is contemporary American cuisine with elevated and whimsical twists. Schwenk, 38, puts his own twists on comforting classics as well as popular modern fare. He’s been cooking professionally since 1996.
Here, we get to know him a bit better.
What’s your favorite dish to cook at home? My favorite thing to cook at home would be tacos.
Where do you eat when you eat out? Some of my favorite places to would be Bluebird, Moontime, Syringa and Capone’s Pub & Grill.
Who or what inspired you to become a chef, and how? My Grandfather, Dan Schwenk, was a butcher in Portland and was my first real instructor when it came to food. Then there was my father, Greg Schwenk. I have many memories of making meals together and learning from him throughout my childhood. A few chefs that I have looked up to have been Tom Douglas, Thomas Keller and Ferran Adria.
What are your go-to ingredients? Some of my go-to ingredients would be garlic, soy sauce, ginger and truffle oil.
What was the first dish a customer ever sent back to you, and how did you handle it? I believe that the first dish that was sent back was a pasta dish that they customer felt was not seasoned enough. I ended up making a new pasta dish that they loved.
What’s a dish you’ve never made but would like to, and why? I am a huge sushi fan and love trying new things, so I would really love to make some exotic sushi.
What dish or ingredient best represents you? We have an ahi poke tower on our menu at 1898. I feel this dish represents me and the way I try to incorporate the “wow” factor in everything that I do in all aspects – from flavor to presentation.