Oh, excuse me, Dream Team! And who is that in the middle giving a thumb's up? You don't recognize him, huh? That's because he is out of context in this picture, son. That there is the one and only Chef Gen of Sushi Yuzu. That's right, ya heard!!! Sushi Yuzu is one of the best kept secrets in Los Angeles, so well kept that they don't even have a website. Urasawa quality sushi, unbelievable. Chef Gen actually worked with Chef Urasawa.... and Chef Nobu. You get the picture. The man is good. And here he is on a catering with us for the trustees of The Natural History Museum to celebrate the new exhibit "Becoming LA".
How the heck did we pull that off???
Matt and I are crazy for Sushi Yuzu, we go there whenever we can, and when we go there, we go with Lasagna Cupcakes so we just became friends with Chef Gen because that is what Matt does to people: he wills them to be his friend. He even did it to me! You really have no defense, it's just his charm. Ask anyone who knows him, they've most likely been in this very situation.
So after a while of this, Matt and Chef Gen decided to trade a stage with each other, which basically means doing a short internship to learn how each other run their very different kitchens. Stay tuned for Matt working in Chef Gen's kitchen because you know I will be there with a camera!
Is that a Baco Mercat hat Matt is wearing? Yes, yes it is. We love Chef Josef, same as Chef Gen. Will Chef Josef be trading a stage with us? Fat chance! The guy is opening his third restaurant downtown and was talking about moving in on the west side too. Not only is he gracious and talented, but he is a damn hard worker that one! We go to Bar Amá and Baco Mercat as often as we go to Sushi Yuzu. You haven't been to any of these places? What are you waiting for? These are primo tips I'm giving you, take note!
Wait a minute now... let's talk about these aprons! Every kitchen insider in Los Angeles and beyond knows of sweet little powerhouse Ellen Bennett who works as a line cook at Providence (but started at Baco Mercat, she has a hat too)and decided to give the standard kitchen apron some style. No, she's not the first to do that, there are cute and there are hip aprons all over the place but none designed by someone who cooks for a living. These aprons are practical! They're durable and they're adjustable. And Ellen makes them in all kinds of cool fabrics. Give her a look: Hedley and Bennett.
Check out this plating set-up! Here's how you run a 200 person plated dinner catering like a restaurant. You set up a line. It runs like gang busters. Boom, boom, boom, done. Hot, beautiful, delicious.
|Photos: Tara Maxey|
Whose been slacking back on desserts? Me! This whole social media and blogging and special event planning and PR and re-branding (yes, that's coming down the pipeline too kids!) has swooped me away from the kitchen these last six months but I have one hell of a protege and that is Chef Matt Poley who is gifted in all things kitchen and with minimal coaching has embodied my approach to dessert. Keep it simple yet nuanced. His puddings are smooth and supple with just a little bit of jiggle because you gotta have jiggle, guys. His cakes are light and complex, and his pies, more ornamental than mine, are flakey and filled with that wonderful flavor only butter can impart.
Sweets and savory are completely different mindsets in a professional kitchen, sort of like the difference between math and English where you're inclined towards one or the other. When someone is really talented at both, it suggests they have a stroke of genius inside of them. There are many chefs whose work ethic and food I respect and admire but my favorite will always be Matt who can pull off absolutely anything and at the same time provoke your tastebuds to sing in their appraisal.