Around the time I opened my second restaurant, Etta's, I had just finished judging at the Jack Daniels World Invitational BBQ Championship in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Back home in Seattle, my goal was to recreate the sweet and smoky taste of that BBQ using our local wild king salmon instead of pig.
People in Seattle - and I'm speaking from experience - are indoors more. It used to just rain a ton, and as a result, you'd be inside listening to music all the time and playing. You'd all rehearse at each other's houses and share ideas. There was no competition. When I got to L.A., I was really stunned by the competition.