Dan Thiessen

Dan Thiessen

Managing Partner

A native of eastern Washington, Managing Partner Dan Thiessen was raised on a cattle ranch in Asotin, 2 hours east of Walla Walla. As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, his 25 year career has included kitchens in Switzerland, Aspen, Coeur d’ Alene, Seattle and Walla Walla.  In 2018, Dan partnered with Paul Mackay and Philip Christofides to open Walla Walla Steak Co. and Crossbuck Brewing in the historic Walla Walla train depot, and recently announced plans for a new location set to open in Woodinville in 2022.  Dan and a team of partners purchased Basel Cellars Estate in 2020 and will continue to operate the iconic property as an exceptional wine country lodging and event location, while developing plans for further expansion.  Dan and his wife Melissa are the proud parents of three sons and are active in the Walla Walla community, as well as operating the Asotin cattle ranch and their own farm and vineyard in Walla Walla.

Jim Kiefer

Operations Manager

Jim has built his career in the hospitality industry with a focus on creating a culture where people feel welcome and can come in and celebrate. That guest-focused perspective is what brought him to Walla Walla Steak Co. at the very beginning and is how he has contributed to its success. Prior to joining the company, Jim owned and operated a steak and seafood restaurant in Steamboat Springs, CO and then moved to Bend, OR where he served as general manager of the Bos Taurus steakhouse. Jim and his wife, Emily and their daughter Zoe enjoy time in the mountains fly fishing, skiing, and biking.

Jenna Bicknell

General Manager

Truly great restaurant general managers shine when they can multitask and wear many hats. Jenna Bicknell is a textbook example of this dexterous skillset with a career in hospitality, entrepreneurism, and community involvement. Jenna began her restaurant career and served for 13 years working for beloved Whitehouse Crawford. She went on to start Curated Walla Walla, a wine touring company and open the Haven Walla Walla vacation home. From 2008-12, Jenna served as executive director for the Sustainable Living Center. During her tenure, the regional community energy efficiency partnership recovered from the economic downturn to expand and weatherize hundreds of homes.

Jenna serves on the Collage Place Parks, Arbor and Recreation Board and is the administrative advisor for the Whitman Collage Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her two children, Juliette and Jefferson and her husband Jamey, as well as traveling, hosting wine tastings and staying fit with Pilates, yoga and cycling in the Blue Mountains.


Dawud “D” Yasin

Restaurant Manager

“Let the good times roll” is a fitting motto for restaurant manager D Yasin. He describes himself as a cook turned sommelier, with a passion for all things related to hospitality. D graduated from Le Cordon Bleu’s Hospitality and Restaurant Management program, and is a certified sommelier, bartender, and beer server, and a WSET level 1 wine steward. D joins Walla Walla Steak Co. after working for Norwegian Cruise lines since 2005 in a variety of roles including Maître ‘d, chef de partie, and head wine steward.

D was born and raised in the Bay Area and is best known for his high energy and positivity. He loves entertaining and making people happy and comfortable. When he is not welcoming guests and mentoring his team, D enjoys dancing, being a DJ, craft brewing, making cocktails, and of course, hosting parties.


Rock Silva

Executive Chef

Walla Walla native Rock Silva’s hunger for all things food have taken him near and far, from kitchens in Seattle to Australia. After culinary school, Rock pushed himself to work with the industry’s leaders including Jason Wilson, Michael Mina, Ethan Stowell and Brian Clevenger. Rock hopes to share his passion for hospitality with others through his enthusiastic and honest approach. Rock shares his belief that food is the single greatest element to any great party. He believes in simple food done right, with integrity, thought, and a good knob of butter.

Rock resides in Walla Walla with his wife, Amanda, and their two sons. On his days off, you can find him spending time with his family and friends, BBQing, watching sports and playing golf. Some of his favorite foods include tacos, noodles of all kinds, and anything to satisfy his sweet tooth.

Stephen Toschlog

Executive Sous Chef

Michael Pleyo

Sous Chef

Erin Needham

Catering Sales & Events Manager

When Erin returned to her native Walla Walla in 2021, she brought a wealth of event planning experience with her after years managing corporate catering and special events for companies including Nike and INTEL, where her clients’ included executives, top athletes, celebrities, and world class designers.  The events she managed ranged in size, where attendance would eclipse 5000 people to very elite, exclusive formats. Erin is inspired by the connections and relationships she develops with her clients and is happy to return to her native roots and contribute to the Walla Walla community. 
In her spare time, Erin is an avid softball player, yoga practitioner, adventurer and enjoys spending time with her family and friends creating memories. While she loves all food, her favorite snack is the next delectable recipe from the kitchen at the Walla Walla Steak Company.