West Sound Café will open for the 2016 season re-energized by new chef Dirul Shamsid-Deen.
Shamsid-Deen is not new to Orcas Island. After training at the Western Culinary Institute (Le Cordon Bleu) in Portland, Ore., he came to Orcas Island in 2001 to intern at the Inn at Ship Bay. He continued his stay, working at the Sunflower Café in Eastsound. He left Orcas in 2003. Although he intuitively felt the pull of the island, he says, “I was simply too young to settle down on an island then.”
He travelled. He worked for a food truck in Italy, a tourist restaurant in Sydney, Australia and settled into corporate restaurant work.
Shamsid-Deen is a Los Angeles native. In other phases of his life, he played college basketball, was in the military and worked as an electronic engineer.
He returned to Orcas two years ago. Locals will remember him as the chef at the Loft Restaurant and more recently as the chef at Winter Tide, a pop up restaurant at Mia’s in Eastsound.
Asked about West Sound Café, Shamsid-Deen smiles and answers, “West Sound Café is an island institution where locals gather for a good time and I see an opportunity here – a kind of freedom – to contribute to the local food culture in my own way, producing great food for great value.”
He is introducing a new dinner menu that puts more emphasis on small plates.
West Sound Café is at the corner of Crow Valley Road and Deer Harbor Road.