Portrait of Maria Hines

Maria Hines

Chef / Owner

Maria Hines has been turning heads in the culinary world for over two decades as an ambassador for organic and sustainable food. The James Beard Award-winner has two critically acclaimed restaurants in Seattle: Tilth and Agrodolce.

In 2005, she was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs and went on to open her first restaurant, Tilth, in September 2006, which remains among one of the nation’s top culinary destinations. In 2008, Frank Bruni of the New York Times named Tilth one of the top 10 best new restaurants in the country. Maria competed in “Top Chef Masters” in 2010 and later that year appeared on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and won the “Battle of Pacific Cod.” In 2012, Maria opened Agrodolce with a focus on Southern Italian and Sicilian fare. Adding to her list of accolades, Maria was a semifinalist for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 2013.

She is a leader in the restaurant and sustainability community, donating her time to such causes as James Beard Foundation sustainability programs, American Chef Corps, Puget Sound Food Council, food equality for low-income families and other food system advocacy. She is a founding member of Seattle Restaurant Week, on the advisory council for the Mountaineers and previously served on the board for PCC Farmland Trust.

With her dedication to local, organic unwavering, both of her restaurants are certified organic by the highly esteemed, Oregon Tilth. Her long-standing commitment to use seasonal and organic Northwest products has blended together a personal and professional passion with New American cuisine at Tilth and Southern Italian and Sicilian fare at Agrodolce.


Portrait of Joel Panlilio

Joel Panlilio

Executive Chef | Tilth

Joel‘s meticulous ingredient sourcing and dedication to organic cuisine make him a natural fit at Tilth. His technique is grounded in his time at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He further defined his culinary style working for several years in New York at Eleven Madison Park, where he first met Maria; followed by Tabla with Chef Floyd Cardoz. His culinary journey also had him doing stints at several fine dining restaurants in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, before joining Tilth in 2014.

From the time he was young and cooking with his grandfather, food meant family, drawing people together and being transported to a different time and place. This notion, along with the energy and creativity of a restaurant kitchen that results in making guests happy, is what drives Joel to cook to his full potential at Tilth.

While fine dining restaurants have dominated his career path, his expertise at home lies with his well-used collection of six different grills and smokers. Joel’s two young sons and golden retriever also keep him busy with hikes while personal time finds him flipping through culinary books such as “The Flavor Bible” and “On Food and Cooking.”

Portrait of Mark Licastro

Mark Licastro

General Manager | Tilth Restaurant

Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, Mark moved to Seattle in 2013.  He began working in restaurants at the age of 16 and has seen aspects of the service industry from many vantage points.  As he began developing new roots in the Pacific Northwest, Mark found Tilth to be a good fit based on its high level of service, clean upscale cuisine, and dedication to local and sustainable products.  Beginning as a server, he soon became a Lead Server, and is now the General Manager of the restaurant, an organic growth in an organic restaurant.  Having studied under The Court of Master Sommeliers, his love of wine, spirits and beer has thrived in Washington.  In his down time, Mark is an avid Cleveland sports fan, enjoys the outdoors, and spends time with his girlfriend and two cats.

Portrait of Thomas Litrenta

Thomas Litrenta

Executive Chef | Agrodolce

Thomas was raised in an Italian/American household where his Bisnonna taught him to cook using local, fresh organic ingredients. His first lesson was how to make the sauce and macaroni for Sunday dinner.  He quickly learned mealtime was for sharing good food with family and friends - and no one left the table hungry.

His Northwest upbringing gave him a love for seafood, as his Father was an avid fisherman and there was always fresh fish for dinner. While his mother's lasagna is what he can only describe as “where dreams come from”.

As his Bisnonna taught him, Thomas believes in using locally grown, organic, and wild products.  He believes the most flavorful cuisine is made simply with the highest quality ingredients. While working in restaurants for the past 25 years in the Seattle area, Thomas has honed his skills and enjoys sharing his love of food with guests and friends.

When not at work in the kitchen, Thomas can be found barbecuing with friends, attending shows, and trying to keep up with his son and daughter.  He and his children enjoy all the PNW has to offer.

Portrait of Alexander Severn

Alexander Severn

General Manager | Agrodolce Restaurant

As the son of a climate and toxicology professor, you could say Alex has an inherent desire for a more sustainable future.
His years of working in hospitality and fine dining have allowed him to bear witness to the inspiring effect a plate can have on a patron. Furthermore he is encouraged to educate about the importance of everything that goes into a dish's preparation.
Merging his formal background in design with his passion for food, Alex is committed to the challenge of bringing an organic, sustainable food culture to all. A true believer that most problems can be solved through our food choices.

Portrait of Kurt Argys

Kurt Argys

Catering Director

Kurt started working in restaurants at the age of 13 working from a busboy to server where the passion for food and the art of customer service began.  Working with Maria Hines since 2014, he has developed a passion for local, organic and sustainable food. Today, Kurt now leads the catering department, assuring each client has a delightful event and while continuing the company's commitment to organic sustainable food practices.