Drew Trautmann has been cooking professionally for the past 18 years. He attended culinary school in Seattle. While there, he worked for James Beard Award-winning chef Tom Douglas, who taught him the importance of pristine seasonal ingredients. From Seattle, Trautmann moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he took on his first Executive Chef positions at the acclaimed restaurants Ristra and Bistro 315. His first job upon moving to D.C. was at Restaurant Nora, where he became familiar with the abundance of local and organic products available in the area.
He moved on to revitalize Mendocino Grille in Georgetown, making the menu more seasonal and contemporary. From July 2005 to March 2009, he was executive chef at Sonoma on Capitol Hill. Here he created the menu and sourced all of the products, most of which came from the surrounding area. The menu was printed in-house, allowing it to change frequently as it showcased ingredients at their peak. Drew was one of the first chefs in the area to introduce a cheese and charcuterie program and to offer small plates, allowing diners to sample a broad range of dishes. In addition to maintaining his role as executive chef at Sonoma, he designed and set up the kitchen for Redwood Restaurant and Bar in Bethesda. In March of 2009 he returned to Mendocino Grille and reinvigorated the menu, making it more seasonal and accessible. The result was a 10% increase in food sales over the previous year, in spite of difficult economic times.
In addition to these creative aspects, Trautmann has had oversight of all kitchen operations including vendor selection, food cost control, and employee hiring and training. He has always met or exceeded the business goals of his establishments.