Our Food

Chef Profiles

David Yeo

David Yeo
Executive Chef

David brings 30 years of experience as an Executive Chef in 5 Diamond hotels and restaurant industries. He is a proven self-motivated leader with a track record of accomplishments and successes in managing small to large culinary divisions of hotels, restaurants, country clubs, and corporate multi-unit restaurant operations. He is known to many as a critical thinker and an adept Executive Chef with extensive application of cuisine knowledge, operations, procedures and financials to bring about rapid revenue and profit growth while exceeding expectations in food quality, guests experience and service.

David’s list of credentials is too long to list. His latest engagement was at the Sheraton Hotel LAX, Los Angeles, California where he served as the Executive Chef and oversaw one of the highest volume Sheraton Hotels in North America with 800 rooms, five outlets, a 12,000 square feet ballroom, 50,000 square feet of function spaces and 38 meeting and event spaces.

Prior to joining Sheraton Hotel, he worked as Corporate Chef for Straits Restaurant Group in San Francisco, Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, Chaya Restaurant Group and CJ America/CJ Foods in L.A. Chef David began his culinary journey working for some of the world’s most notable chefs such as Daniel Boulud at Le Cirque, Joel Robuchon at Jamin and Alain Ducasse at Louis XV Hotel du Paris.

Chef David is excited to be back blending and cooking up some of the world’s most complex flavors of Southeast Asia and in search of of the perfect blend of Curry spices. He is looking forward to expand our current repertoire to include more diverse Asian Cuisine and stay true to authenticity, techniques and flavors. Working with more local Pacific Northwest products will allow him to create more seasonal menus while bringing back old dishes with a different approach and perspective. David is fluent in English and speaks three other languages, mainly Cantonese, Hokien and Malay. You will find David as an astute professional with a keen eye for detail and an innate talent to lead.

In his spare time, Chef David studies and practices the ancient Art of Japanese Swordsmanship - Toyama Ryu and Shinkendo under the Grand Master - Toshishiro Obata.  He rides his Harley on a limited basis and has settled into the Ballard neighborhood with his wife who works for Starbucks.
Nathan Uy

Nathan Uy
Culinary Director

When Nathan was a young boy in 1975, his family fled their home in a war-torn city of Cambodia and migrated to the country to work the fields.  His family planted rice and sweet potatoes and Nathan learned to cook from his father on the farm. 

Nathan was a newly married man when the ruthless Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia. He worked for four years as a cook for the Communist Committee, making meals for 200 villagers every day. In 1979 he and his wife escaped this cruel lifestyle by walking 120 miles through the jungles of Thailand to Vietnam.

He left Cambodia when he was twenty six and moved to Renton, just outside of Seattle. Working in various Asian restaurants before landing at Wild Ginger, Nathan has worked here for over thirteen years, and runs the entire kitchen and its team of cooks.  As part of his job, he is also responsible for training both line and prep cooks and speaks several languages - Cantonese, Vietnamese, Manchurian and English. 

Like most chefs in the kitchen at Wild Ginger, Nathan plants a garden at home. Lush with pumpkins, tomatoes, salad and squash for soups, he is in charge of cooking at home, as well.  At the moment, his favorite foods are Thai-inspired as they tend to include a bounty of herbs.
Gihan Ernest

Gihan Ernest
Lead Sous Chef - Wild Ginger Bellevue

With over ten years of industry experience and eight years of food handling experience, Chef Gihan Ernest’s background makes him an amazing addition to the Wild Ginger team. Gihan has an impressive background working in restaurants and hotels such as the Earl's Regency Hotel, Suiss Hotel Kandy, Cinnamon Grand Hotel Colombo, and Sri Lankan Airline Catering. Gihan also worked onboard Azamara Club Cruises supplying customers with above and beyond service and food. He also implemented a new plating system and created new menus. He assisted the Executive chef for all VIP chef tables and special demonstrations as well. Gihan has spent years in the tough operation of the culinary business and takes leadership and success very seriously. He has received awards from the Sri Lanka Chefs Guild Competition and a diploma for food hygiene and excellent customer service!
Gihan’s creativity shines in the kitchen by incorporating his culinary knowledge and skill along with his originality. Chef Gihan delivers beautiful and delicious dishes, every time. He tries to discover new tastes pulling from modern and traditional recipes. Chef Gihan tries to experiment with it all! Taking bits and pieces from Italian, American, Mexican, Eastern, and Sri Lankan recipes. Gihan continues to create new and different cuisine styles for every guest. Wild Ginger is known for providing traditional South East Asian dishes with a modern flare and with Chef Gihan in the kitchen, he will continue to the break boundaries with new culinary ideas while still providing you with the same classics that Wild Ginger is known for!
Ashley Villaluz Santo Domingo

Ashley Villaluz Santo Domingo
Chef de Cuisine

Ashley has over a decade of experience running the back of the house.  Her humble beginnings working the line to leading the line to Saucier to Chef de Partie to Executive Chef at some of Seattle's & LA's finest restaurants.  These restaurants include: Joule, Cafe Juanita, El Gaucho, the Salish Lodge, Monsoon, 24 Carrots Catering, just to name a few.  This vibrant young lady was appointed the Executive Chef to join the innovative team at 24 Carrots, Southern California’s number one resource for catering high-caliber special events.
Ashley’s list of credentials is vast.  What you probably didn’t know was that she competed on Season 9 of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and made an appearance on Top Chef Season 9 in Austin, TX!  She was also nominated for the James Beard’s Rising Star Chef in the Pacific Northwest in 2008. This gave her the opportunity to work alongside James Beard award winning chefs, Michelin award winning chefs, Iron Chefs and more.  She also graced “The Real Housewives of Orange County, LA’s TV show series, with ample excitement and made a great addition to their stellar culinary team.
Ashley is not a stranger to the culinary world.  Her dad was a chef and this became an influence on her becoming one. At the age of 16, she started looking at culinary schools when she started to think about where she wanted to go to college. Once she started culinary school she was in love, and the rest is history!

Besides her dad, she also got her exposure and training from some of the best in this industry.  During her tenure as a Sous Chef at Joule, she credits her skills from Rachel Yang, the Executive Chef at Joule.  According to Ashley, “it’s super different”.  “It’s like Korean-French, very traditional, real cooking, but then crazy, out-there flavors”!

Outside of the kitchen, Ashley loves to cross-fit and Olympic lift.  She is married to Miguel who works at Zillow and has a dog named Wiz.  Depending on the event, she may or may not have an obsession for both sneakers & heels!  And, she did wear sneakers when she walked down the aisle on her wedding day!
Thomas Cullen

Thomas Cullen
Chef de Cuisine

Thomas' background as a chef is thoroughly impressive and has many years of experience working with all types of cuisine. Though he is skilled in many areas, his extensive background with Asian fare makes him a valuable and exciting new addition to the Wild Ginger team. Most recently, he was titled Executive Chef with Chandler's Crab House, which ran upwards of $5M in sales. Thomas was also CDC with Tao and Lavo in Las Vegas, a giant machine witnessing sales upwards of $70M annually and around 1500 covers a night. With experiences that range from reinventing brands and conceptualizing new menus to supervising all aspects of back of the house operations, Thomas' knowledge, skill, and ambition makes him the ideal addition to continue Wild Ginger's success and growth!
Ming Tan

Ming Tan
Chef - Wild Ginger Seattle

For over ten years, Ming has been cooking in the kitchens at Wild Ginger, starting off in our first kitchen on Western Avenue.  Ming moved with his family to Seattle from Kai Pan, China, and quickly became a key member of our team. He currently oversees a staff of over fifty cooks and manages the production of some of our most vital sauces and recipes. On any given day he can be found quietly leading his team by example; most often working right along side them as they prepare for the day. In Ming’s kitchen, there is no ‘boss’, just staff.  For him, they are all passionate cooks.

At home, Ming cultivates his own kind of home-cooking by growing several vegetables in his backyard – an assortment of Asian greens, plums and green beans among them.  He favors shopping at his local Asian Market and has never succumbed to the Western style of eating, preferring simple steamed fish (his favorite meal) over fast food.  There are three practices to live by in Ming’s kitchen, whether at home or behind the stoves at Wild Ginger – clean, fresh, flavor – an admirable commitment to food that is evident on every plate.

1401 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
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508 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
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