Meet the Team: J.J. Ullakko, Sous Chef

J.J. Ullakko, Sous Chef

It’s nice to have that intuitive, “got your back” person as a colleague. In the Pearl kitchen, Bradley has just that in J.J. Ullakko. He brings the restaurant his energy and 28 years in the business, having worked with esteemed chefs in some of Seattle’s and the Eastside’s finest steakhouses and seafood restaurants (Stars, El Gaucho, Daniel’s) prior to joining Pearl Bar & Dining.  

 As Pearl’s Sous Chef, J.J. serves as Bradley’s right hand man, responsible for the kitchen and all it entails: recipe development cleanliness, safety, production, procedures, training, collaboration and anything else Chef Bradley needs.

 J.J. enjoys the restaurant’s “Sundae Supper” which includes a popular, Sunday-only Pot Roast (“It’s like home,” J.J. says). He also raves about the Mojitos: “They make one hell of a good one here,” J.J. says.

 Most impressed by the seamless interaction of the staff; J.J. commends the way his colleagues work together as a team, and really care about what they do.

 He loves the challenge of coming up with new food ideas, generally inspired by what’s delivered through the kitchen doors. “This is my favorite, coming up with something new, so when products come, the ideas start flowing and our creativity gets to shine in each dish,” he says.

 When he’s not at Pearl, J.J. spends time with his girlfriend, and their “big baby,” a black lab named Buck and of course, their little one Isabella, a mini dachshund.


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