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Art & Culture Center of Whidbey Island

Gourmet wines, cheeses and much more at The Tipsy Gourmet in Langley

Author: Carolyn Tamler


Kate Johnson learned to cook at an early age but did not know that food would be her career until she went to a
The Tipsy Gourmet, at the back of Langley Village

Kate Johnson learned to cook at an early age but did not know that food would be her career until she went to a French cheese & wine tasting at age 20. It was then she knew she would attend culinary school and work with food. Her business, The Tipsy Gourmet, at the back of Langley Village, is just what she envisioned when she thought about creating a gourmet wine and cheese store.
tipsy2She went to school in Langley, and then left the island to explore the world. She got as far as Oregon. She sublet a studio apartment in Portland and found a job at a French charcuterie learning to make pates and sausages. Kate attended culinary school in Portland at what is now “Le Cordon Bleu”, receiving a Culinary Arts Degree at 20 years of age.

She stayed in Portland for nine years and gained experience in a wide range of hospitality services including coffee shops, a fish house, hotels, corporate dining facilities, university settings and upscale restaurants.

She left Portland and became the Executive Chef at Hewlett Packard in Corvallis for 5 years, then on to a small Christian College in Eugene.  An opportunity to work a 6 month position at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks was an adventure too good to pass up – how many people do you know can claim to have moved to Alaska in the middle of January?  From there, she moved to Everett for a job opportunity as the Everett Community College Dining Service Manager. Before moving back to Whidbey, she was the Operations Manager for Retail Dining at the Husky Den at the UW.



tipsy4By May 2013, Kate was ready to return to the sense of community that characterizes Whidbey Island. Back on the island, she pursued her dream of having her own business. In July 2014, she and her wife Karla Berry purchased the Langley Liquor Store, in Langley Village and turned it into the gourmet food shop it is now. Karla, who is an inventory management specialist at Boeing, brings a keen eye for décor. Kate and Karla have tasted just about all of the items they sell. Besides cheese and wine The Tipsy Gourmet has a wide selection of olives, vinegars, crackers, pate, mustard, cookies, pasta, salami, beer, hard cider and spirits. Kate and Karla describe their unique store “The South Whidbey source for all of your favorite imported and domestic food and drink.”

Kate and Karla hope their selections inspire people to experiment with food, have fun and make food memories. It is their goal that Whidbey locals can avoid a trip to Seattle for their gourmet needs, and that tourists coming to the island will find wonderful gourmet treats when they visit The Tipsy Gourmet.


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