Russell Smith

Executive Chef, The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Russell SmithRussell Smith serves as the executive chef at The Source by Wolfgang Puck, bringing nearly 15 years of experience to the kitchen that he’s grown to know and love over the last eight years.

Smith has been an essential member of the team at The Source since 2009 when he started as a sous chef working under former executive chef Scott Drewno. Throughout the past eight years, Smith has gained experience working every single station at the restaurant, from dumplings to pastries, and says that working his way up to become executive chef is one of the proudest moments of his career.

Prior to taking the reins at The Source, Smith traveled to Hong Kong, where he spent time staging at Lung King Heen, a three-stared Michelin restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel, where he was impressed by the precision, simplicity and freshness of the dishes being executed there. He then went to Singapore where he enjoyed all types of Asian cuisine as well as the famous local street food. His travels and exposure to different ingredients inspired several new dishes on the menu at The Source, including Singapore-style Chili Crab Bao buns and Malaysian Jackfruit Curry.

After graduating from Edinboro University, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he began working as a fishmonger at BlackSalt, a restaurant and fish market owned by Black Restaurant Group. After a short time, Smith worked his way up at the restaurant, eventually becoming the sous chef. He worked the tasting-menu-only room at BlackSalt, where he was able to exercise his creativity while utilizing the restaurant’s selection of esoteric, freshly caught seafood.

anting to gain more experience, Smith spent the next five years working various positions at the award-winning restaurants within Black Restaurant Group in an environment he says was collaborative, creative and educational. Smith credits his friends and colleagues, who are now behind some of Washington, DC’s most popular eateries, with helping him learn his way around the kitchen and develop the skillset he exhibits today. It’s his father, however, whom he says taught him the importance of a strong work ethic.

When he’s not in the kitchen, food remains both a priority and a great passion of Smith’s. A lover of all cuisines, he spends much of his time trying out new restaurants in the city, and visiting old favorites for everything from tacos to falafel to cheeseburgers. Smith also enjoys reading cookbooks, developing new recipes, and spending time with his family. He currently resides in Maryland with his wife Alisa, daughters Lily and Aerin, and their fish, Bubbles.

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