Chef Sabrina Tinsley's love of fresh and seasonal foods was kindled during her upbringing in Fairbanks, Alaska. She and her mother created many meals together, using fresh herbs and vegetables from their family garden and wild fish and game from Alaska’s bounty. During her later travels through Europe, she found two loves: her husband-to-be, Pietro, and the flavorful food from the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy where he grew up.
Sabrina and Pietro opened la Spiga in 1998 in order to bring truly authentic northern Italian cuisine to Seattle diners. Chef Sabrina is extremely particular about her ingredients being of the highest quality, fresh and seasonal, and this is reflected in the dishes she creates. Certain items are imported from Italy, like Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar made in Modena, while other ingredients are sourced locally, from organic and sustainable sources whenever possible. Pasta is made fresh daily, and sauces and desserts are always made from scratch. The overall philosophy? Fine ingredients don't need a lot of fuss, but instead, a dedication to the kind of cooking that allows the ingredients themselves to shine through.
Chef Tinsley donates her time as a mentor to aspiring culinary professionals through the wonderful FareStart program and has contributed time and resources to diversity programs advocating for female chefs and chefs of color. She has been published in many local cookbooks, has been interviewed on radio and television, and was an Iron Chef contender against Bobby Flay.