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Food. Drinks. People.
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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Jason Neroni grew up in Orange County and built up culinary credentials at New York restaurants like 71 Clinton Fresh Food and 10 Downing Food & Wine. He returned to Southern California and ran the Osteria La Buca and Superba Snack Bar kitchens before teaming with Sprout on Catch & Release in Marina del Rey and The Rose in Venice. In his “spare time,” Neroni also consults on two B Side Brick Oven Pizza locations in New York. In June, I met Neroni at Catch & Release, where we discussed his philosophy and approach. Joshua Lurie: How did the opportunity with Sprout come about? Jason Neroni: I was working brunch at [Superba] Snack Bar and Rory Herrmann, now my partner, walked in the door with two guys. Rory and I used to work together at Blue Hill and [Alain] Ducasse in New York eons ago. He was at Bouchon at the time…They come to leave. I said, “I heard you’re leaving Bouchon. What are you doing?” He said, “I’m getting ready to open five restaurants.” “Five restaurants? That’s advantageous.” I said, “Who’s that?” He said, “That’s Bill Chait…And that’s Michael Glick, owner of L.A. Specialty.” A month later, [Rory] gave me a call:...

    Interview: chef Jason Neroni (Catch & Release + The Rose)


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Tara Lazar is a self-trained chef who’s carved out quite a niche in Palm Springs with Foundation 10 Creative‘s diverse roster. She started with popular breakfast spot Cheeky’s in 2008 and has since added Italian-inspired Birba and a boutique hotel called Alcazar on the same block. F10 also runs pan-Latin Chi Chi at the Avalon Palm Springs, and her group recently updated iconic Lyons English Grille, which now goes by Mr. Lyons. I met Lazar at Chi Chi in August, and followed up by e-mail to learn more about her philosophy and approach. Joshua Lurie: Was it a given that you would become a chef and restaurateur, or did you consider other careers? Tara Lazar: Not even close, I was a stock trader during my 20s, moved back to Palm Springs and was annoyed there wasn’t any good breakfast. My dad offered to pay me to NOT get into the restaurant biz. Quite a fluke. But in hindsight, I was always fascinated with food, eating, seeking out tasty snacks, etc. JL: What do you remember about the first night that you cooked professionally in a restaurant kitchen? TL: It was a morning (not a night), at Cheeky’s. I had no...

    Interview: Tara Lazar (Foundation 10 Creative, Palm Springs)


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Francis Mallmann is an accomplished Argentinean chef who’s traveled the world and now employs a repertoire of cooking techniques that focus on Seven Fires. His restaurants include 1884 Francis Mallmann in Mendoza, Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires, and El Garzon Restaurant and Hotel in Punta del Este, Uruguay. He’s also preparing to open Los Fuegos in Miami’s Faena District in Fall 2015. He was recently in Los Angeles at Hotel Bel-Air to cook alongside Wolfgang Puck and Adam Perry Lang. I sat down with Chef Mallmann, who’s also an author and regular television presence, to discuss his outlook and approach. Joshua Lurie: What more do you have to accomplish as a chef, if anything? Francis Mallmann: I feel that this language of fires is on its way. I can’t say I have embraced all of it yet. There’s a lot more to do. I’m working very hard now on this new project in Miami to take what we do to another level of perfection and beauty and taste. We’ve been working on this for two years now, and I’m really looking forward to it because it’s going to be like a new branch of cooking and thinking about fires. JL:...

    Interview: chef Francis Mallmann (Los Fuegos)


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    City of Orange native and longtime caterer Brooke Desprez teamed with Chi-lin Pendergrast and husband Sumter on Sidecar Doughnuts in 2012. The Costa Mesa hit now has a branch in Santa Monica. Learn more about Chef Desprez and her seemingly magical rings. Josh Lurie: What was your career trajectory like before Sidecar? Brooke Desprez: I was a caterer for five years. The way I got into food – my daughter went to a school where the parents were really involved. I was in charge of the hospitality. That was about 10 years ago. That’s where I started experimenting with different flavor combinations and large quantities. That’s where my love of food really started. JL: What do you remember about the very first donut that you made? How did that turn out? BD: I spent a year. Believe it or not, my yeast dough, right off the bat, was pretty good. I just had to adjust it a little bit. It’s the cake that took me awhile to figure out. That was more difficult. JL: What’s more challenging about the cake batter? BD: I just want it to be really moist and light like a cake. It just took a little...

    Interview: chef Brooke Desprez (Sidecar Doughnuts)


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Greg Denton Gabrielle Quiñonez Denton are the partners behind Ox and Superbite in Portland, Oregon. The duo met at Terra in St. Helena, became Food & Wine Best New Chefs in 2012, and recently released Around the Fire, which spotlights wood-fired cooking at Ox and at home. I met the couple at Republique in Los Angeles, where they shared culinary insights. Josh Lurie: What are your goals with “Around the Fire”? Greg Denton: Our goals for “Around the Fire” have never been to make money on a book. For us, it’s a way for us to put what we do as a living, and what we love to do, we get to put those things in somebody’s hands. They get to take something with them, not just an experience in a restaurant. Now they’re able to be inspired at home with what they might have had at our restaurant. Gabrielle Quiñonez Denton: From a business point of view, we’re hoping that we’re enticing people to come to Portland, or when they do come to Portland, hopefully they seek out one of our restaurants based on what they’ve seen in the cookbook and hopefully what they’ve attempted to cook for themselves....

    Interview: chefs Greg Denton + Gabrielle Quiñonez Denton (Ox + Superbite)


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Justin West started cooking by age 11 in his father’s five restaurants in Eugene, Oregon. He committed to the restaurant world at an early age. He met Emma, his wife and front of house partner, at California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. They relocated to Santa Barbara. He spent time with The Wine Cask and San Ysidro Ranch in numerous capacities before the couple opened seasonally focused Julienne across from El Presidio State Historic Park in 2008. They added Wildwood Kitchen to end 2015, delivering “West Coast BBQ” to The Mill, a multi-faceted venue. I reconnected with Justin West at a Santa Barbara culinary showcase in L.A., and he recently shared several insights about his family’s Santa Barbara restaurants. Josh Lurie: How did you decide on barbecue as a follow up to Julienne? Justin West: My dad owned a BBQ restaurant called West Bros BBQ, for 15 years when I was growing up. These flavors have always been meaningful to me. Plus, the blueprint for this concept was there and tested. The other tenants at The Mill really liked the idea of BBQ and after a couple tastings of what my style of BBQ is, we were off to the...

    Interview: chef Justin West (Julienne + Wildwood Kitchen)


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Rustic Canyon Winebar and Seasonal Kitchen restaurateur Josh Loeb has gone on to open several other Santa Monica concepts with pastry chef/wife Zoe Nathan and the Rustic Canyon Family of Restaurants, including Huckleberry Bakery & Café, Milo & Olive, Sweet Rose Creamery, Cassia, and Esters Wine Shop & Bar, but Rustic Canyon remains the group’s seasonal touchstone. To start 2013, they welcomed chef Jeremy Fox, previously with revered Bay Area restaurants like Manresa and Ubuntu. To celebrate, talented chef friends join them in the kitchen for three anniversary dinners – October 3 (Out of Town Friends), November 7 (Local Friends) and December 8 (History of Rustic Canyon) – with the final dinner falling on their actual 10th anniversary. I recently met Loeb and Fox at Rustic Canyon’s bar, where they reflected on the restaurant’s progression, growth, identity, and future. Josh Lurie: Josh, what were your initial goals with Rustic Canyon? Josh Loeb: To open a great farm-to-table restaurant was something I felt like I had seen living in Berkeley, living in New York, a place that made everything by hand and used the best ingredients, but wasn’t stuffy. You could come in jeans and a T-shirt, or you come in a suit to celebrate your anniversary...

    Interview: Josh Loeb + Jeremy Fox as Rustic Canyon Turns 10


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Massimo Bottura has established global reach from Modena, Italy, the city where he runs Osteria Francescana with wife Lisa Gilmore. In 2016, the restaurant earned the #1 spot on San Pellegrino’s prestigious The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, and they currently rank #2. To start May, he was in L.A. to participate in several events for the inaugural L.A. Food Bowl, including a collaborative dinner with Michael Cimarusti at Providence and Food for Soul, a panel discussion on hunger and food waste with Roy Choi, Mario Batali, Dominique Crenn, and Mary Sue Milliken that Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold moderated at The Theatre at Ace Hotel. A screening of the short film “Theater of Life” followed the discussion, featuring the story behind Refettorio Ambrosiano, a soup kitchen that Bottura conceived for the Milan 2015 World’s Fair to transform food waste into meals. Food for Soul, the non-profit organization that he founded, “promotes social awareness about food waste and hunger through a wide range of initiatives in collaboration with chefs, artisans, food suppliers, artists, designers and institutions.” I had a chance to correspond with Bottura by e-mail after the film. Learn more about his worldwide profile and mission to...

    Interview: Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana)


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Globe-trotting Shake Shack Culinary Director Mark Rosati was recently in L.A. to promote the release of the Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories, which he co-wrote with CEO Randy Garutti and Dorothy Kalins, and to preview breakfast service at the company’s LAX outpost. Learn more about how the Connecticut native came to be employee #2 at a tiny Madison Square Park burger stand, an opportunity that’s led to worldwide adventures and collaborations. Josh Lurie: How did your opportunity with Shake Shack come about for you? Mark Rosati: It was not my first choice, to be honest. I worked for Danny Meyer for three years prior to joining Shake Shack. I was a cook at Gramercy Tavern. I started out with the original chef, Tom Colicchio, and did a year and a half with him. I loved Gramercy Tavern. It was my favorite restaurant in all of New York. On special occasions, I would go to eat in the tavern in the front and do fine dining in the back. That restaurant was so exciting, so seasonal, that it inspired me to want to learn how to cook. I never went to school. I read a lot of books. I bought Tom’s...

    Interview: Mark Rosati (Shake Shack Culinary Director)


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz has become known for serving some of the world’s most daring modernist cuisine at Mugaritz in Errenteria, Spain. The Basque Country restaurant consistently ranks in the Top 10 of San Pellegrino’s prestigious The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, currently check in at #9. Chef Aduriz recently flew from Spain to serve six courses on July 18-21 at The Bazaar from his more casual Basque-Latin restaurant, Topa Sukaldería. He was also in Los Angeles to collaborate on July 21-22 with ThinkFoodGroup Culinary Director Aitor Zabala (a fellow El Bulli alum) on an 18-course menu at Somni’s future home inside SLS Hotel Beverly Hills. I had a chance to correspond with Andoni Luis Aduriz by e-mail during his L.A. stay. Learn more about his international perspective and approach. Josh Lurie: Have you ever created a perfect dish? If so, what was the dish, inspiration, and approach? Andoni Luis Aduriz: Mugaritz is in a constant state of inquiry. We invest thousands of hours trying to create dishes that are worth showing. Every year we spend four months working exclusively on creativity: exploring, developing and working in new ideas, dishes and concepts. This creative process draws on our own experiences,...

    Interview: chef Andoni Luis Aduriz (Mugaritz)


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Chef Josef Centeno grew up in San Antonio and spent time cooking in New York City and for David Kinch at Manresa, but he developed his unique personal cooking style in L.A. He’s been a central figure in the rise of downtown’s L.A.’s Old Bank District. Centeno runs globally inspired Bäco Mercat, Tex-Mex based Bar Amá, seasonal American Ledlow, vegetable focused P.Y.T. and Japanese-Italian Orsa & Winston within a one-block radius, and recently launched fast casual BäcoShop in Culver City. Bäco: Vivid Recipes from the Heart of Los Angeles is a cookbook he wrote with partner Betty Hallock that beautifully explains the globally-inspired sauces and spice blends that fuel his flavorful, seasonal, multi-layered cooking. I recently interviewed Centeno by e-mail, which helps to explain his vision and approach. Joshua Lurie: You must have developed hundreds if not thousands of recipes over the years. How did you decide which recipes to include in your cookbook? Josef Centeno: A good percentage, but not all, of the recipes are from Bäco Mercat. Some are signature dishes—hamachi crudo with crushed avocado and potato croquette, Caesar Brussels sprouts, fava hummus and eggplant puree with lebni and za’atar. The rest are meant to be in the...

    Interview: chef Josef Centeno (Bäco: Vivid Recipes from the Heart of Los Angeles)


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Curtis Stone is no stranger to the spotlight. The Melbourne, Australia, native has been cooking professionally since he was 18. He racked up extensive experience in Europe before settling in London, where he found a notorious mentor in Marco Pierre White. Stone first ended up in front of a camera in 2003 with “Surfing the Menu” and has gone on to be a host or judge on shows like “Top Chef Masters,” “All-Star Academy” and “My Kitchen Rules,” in addition to frequent appearances on national talk shows like “Today” and “The Chew.” Somehow, he’s managed to balance his television commitments with helping to raise two sons with wife Lindsay Price and running two high-profile Los Angeles restaurants that pay tribute to his grandmothers. Gwen revolves around a wood-burning hearth and in-house butcher shop. Maude initially showcased a different seasonal ingredient each month, and will soon re-focus attention on the world’s wine growing regions. Stone has also earned a reputation for giving back to the community, as demonstrated by commitments to organizations like Chrysalis, a local organization that’s “dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to prepare for, find,...

    Interview: chef Curtis Stone (Gwen + Maude)


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Nobody can say that Miles Thompson’s trajectory has ever hit a plateau. In 2014, Star Chefs named him a Los Angeles Rising Star. This fall, Jeff Gordinier honored Thompson as Esquire magazine’s “Rising Star of the Year.” The native of Westchester County, New York, first started cooking professionally at age 13. In 2007, he relocated to Los Angeles to pursue acting. Thompson rejoined the kitchen brigade, working for Alex Becker at Nobu Los Angeles, which shifted his focus back to cooking. He worked with Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo at Animal and Son of a Gun before developing contemporary Allumette (his first restaurant) in Echo Park. After relocating to Healdsburg to work at SHED, and helping launch Christophe Harbour on St. Kitts, he returned to L.A. in 2016 to work for Michael McCarty and son Chas at iconic Michael’s Santa Monica. I recently interviewed Thompson, who explained his career progression and upcoming plans. Joshua Lurie: I read that you originally moved to L.A. to become an actor before joining the line at Nobu. What was the decisive point did you decide to give up acting for cooking? Also, in what ways have your acting lessons helped you in the kitchen?...

    Interview: chef Miles Thompson (Michael’s Santa Monica)


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    Food GPS - Food. Drinks. People.

    Chef Dominique Ansel is synonymous with the Cronut®, but you don’t earn the 2014 James Beard Award for “Outstanding Pastry Chef” and get named the 2017 “World’s Best Pastry Chef” by being a one-hit wonder. The France native started working in restaurants starting at age 16, spent nearly eight years expanding the Fauchon brand abroad, and worked for six years as Executive Pastry chef for Daniel Boulud on a team that earned four stars from The New York Times. Ansel opened a small bakery in SoHo in 2011. He and partner Amy Ma have since expanded to Tokyo and London and recently launched their most ambitious project at The Grove in L.A. You’ll find a large Dominique Ansel Bakery right on the main plaza, with their first restaurant upstairs. 189 by Dominique Ansel serves creative riffs on French classics and other plates that defy easy categorization. Leading up to their grand opening, I met Ansel in a booth that’s backed by a pattern designed to mirror a croissant’s inner crumb, and he better explained his approach. Joshua Lurie: Did you always plan to cook in restaurants for a living, or did you consider other careers? Dominique Ansel: I started working...

    Interview: chef Dominique Ansel (189 by Dominique Ansel)