Seamus Mullen is the chef and owner of Tertulia, his first solo restaurant in Manhattan's West Village, where he has garnered rave reviews (three stars from New York magazine and two stars from The New York Times) and a strong following for his approachable, modern Spanish cuisine. Recently Tertulia has been featured in the "Tables For Two" column in The New Yorker and named one of the "Top 10 New Restaurants of 2011" by Sam Sifton of The New York Times.
Growing up on an organic farm in Vermont, Seamus learned the value of harvesting the surrounding land to bring flavorful meals to the table. His mother and grandmother imparted the fundamentals of home cooking and butchering, while working at local restaurants provided an early glimpse into the workings of the industry. For his senior year of high school, Seamus decided to study in Burgos, Spain, thus beginning his love of the country's vibrant food and culture.
As a student at Kalamazoo College, Seamus concentrated in Spanish language and literature to further explore his interest in the country. He returned to Spain to study at Universidad Autonoma de Extremadura in Caceres and take in the ancient city's rich history before graduating in 1996.
To follow his passion for cooking, Seamus moved to San Francisco and began working with chef Mike Fennelly at Mecca, where he created modern American dishes using high-quality local produce. Seeking the fast pace and excitement of Manhattan's restaurant scene, he relocated to the city to work with Floyd Cardoz at The New York Times two-star contemporary Indian restaurant, Tabla. Seamus then went on to open Crudo, where he was the guiding force behind the restaurant's Mediterranean menu.
In 2003, Seamus moved back to Spain for a position at Mugaritz, an innovative two-star Michelin-rated restaurant located in the Basque region. While at Mugaritz, he was inspired by chef Andoni Aduriz's artistic approach to cooking. To broaden his knowledge of Spanish cuisine, Seamus headed to Barcelona to work in two of the city's most respected restaurants: Abac and Alkimia. At Abac, Seamus further honed his craft working with executive chef Xavier Pellicern, who is celebrated for his modern riffs on authentic Catalonian cuisine. At Alkimia, he practiced the region's traditional cooking techniques under the tutelage of chef Jordi Vila.
Two years later, Seamus returned to New York to work as executive sous chef at Brasserie 8 ½ alongside executive chef Julian Alonzo. He found himself longing to capture the spirit of the casual bars and cervezerias (beer houses) he encountered throughout Spain, and in 2006, Seamus struck out on his own to open Boqueria, a modern, approachable Spanish tapas restaurant in Manhattan's Flatiron district. Named for the famous Barcelona market, Boqueria earned a strong local following and glowing New York Times two-star review for Seamus' updated twists on classic Spanish cuisine. In 2007, Seamus also became executive chef of Suba and his cuisine led Frank Bruni to raise the Spanish restaurant's New York Times one-star rating to two. A second location of Boqueria opened the following year.
In fall 2009, Seamus introduced his cooking style to a national audience as a finalist on the popular primetime Food Network series, The Next Iron Chef." His first cookbook, Hero Food, launched in April 2012 and is published by Andrews McMeel. When not in the kitchen, Seamus enjoys biking through the Hudson Valley, scouring flea markets for design inspiration and spending time with his niece and nephew, Marlow and William.
Photo courtesy of Colin Clark