The Seattle restaurant community is a tightknit one—whether passing along the name of a great line cook or favorite farmer, jumping in to be an extra pair of hands at an auction dinner, or rallying around a friend going through a hard time—there’s something special about being a part of the hospitality industry in Seattle. And it’s that sense of community that chef Ericka Burke experienced when she texted a few of her friends in late June.

“I was sitting in my office reading one devastating article after another,” said Ericka Burke, chef/owner of Volunteer Park Cafe. “I was overrun with outrage and sadness at the cruel and inhuman treatment of immigrant families. I was sick to my stomach and had to do something, so I reached out to some of my chef friends. I didn’t have a plan. I just said, “we need to do something, anything to help these families that are being torn apart.”

“I was instantly on board,” said Monica Dimas, chef/owner of Milkwood & Co. restaurant group. “We had a great meeting and came up with a lot of ideas. Chefs are a big-hearted and creative bunch!”

“After our second meeting we decided not to rush the process,” said Ethan Stowell, chef/owner of Ethan Stowell Restaurants. “We decided to take a breath, think about the big picture, and establish an organization that has staying power.”

“Supporting human rights and fighting for equality for everyone, no matter where they come from, is an ongoing need,” said John Sundstrom, chef/owner of Lark, Slab Sandwiches + Pie, and Southpaw.

“I was immediately drawn to the project,” said Tamara Murphy, chef/owner of Terra Plata. “It feels good to be doing something positive for our community in these challenging times.”

“We have a super solid team in place and our hope is that by building awareness with +togetherSEATTLE events, we can inspire other local communities, such as arts, sports, fashion, music, and fitness, to get involved,” said Kate Jarvis, executive producer at Chase Jarvis Inc. “We’ve got two events in the works now. Stay tuned for details!”

About +togetherSEATTLE

Founded in June of 2018, +togetherSEATTLE is an organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds in support of human rights. +togetherSEATTLE friends and founders, Ericka Burke, Brian Clevenger, Monica Dimas, Tamara Murphy, Ethan Stowell, John Sundstrom, Kirsten Graham, Kate Jarvis, and Tara Clark believe that by standing together we are stronger to face the toughest challenges that affect our community. To learn more, visit