Chef Khan

A Short Autobiography

from Executive Chef Laurel Khan


“I certainly didn’t plan on opening an upscale restaurant in rural Chehalis, Washington. But, how often do plans go accordingly? Upon finishing school at Western Culinary in Portland I was chosen to work with Rick Tramonto at TRU in Chicago. That incredible experience put me on the exact learning track that I was hoping and I furthered my learning by working with Stu Stein in Portland. Yet, my sons lived in Chehalis. So I returned and after some months of commuting, decided it was time to make new decisions. Within a year I created Mackinaw’s and have had little time to look back.

As a Chef, I always remembered those words of wisdom taught in culinary school about respecting my superiors, being humble, and working hard enough to never sacrifice my values. Being the sole owner of Mackinaw’s I’m continually rewarded for my long hours and desire for perfection by the patrons who feel the need to step into the kitchen and meet me to give me a hug of thanks.

As a mother, my being a Chef was probably a decision not well thought out when it comes to raising three teenage boys. Mackinaw’s became their home – they were young Chefs in training, helping their mom get through all those busy nights. They knew that the only time they had to spend with me was at the restaurant. So instead of resenting all of those sport and school events that I wasn’t able to attend, they actually allowed me to become their hero. It has been an incredibly bittersweet experience but, I too, am proud of who I have become.”