Favorite Animals (to Cook) for Los Angeles Chefs

Chef Los Angeles

FIG executive chef Ray Garcia took a brief break from TOTNLA to discuss his favorite animal.


On June 12, Taste of the Nation gathered chefs from nearly 50 of L.A.’s best restaurants at Culver City’s Media Park to help combat childhood hunger. It’s not very often that much culinary firepower coalesces in one place, I asked, If you could only cook with one more animal, what would it be and why? Read their responses.

Victor Casanova (Culina)

Pig. Because it’s delicious and there are endless possibilities with what you can do.

Jeff Cerciello (Farmshop)

Wow, Josh, that’s pretty loaded. Let’s go with rabbit, and rabbit because at an early part of my culinary career, when I was in Spain, I had the ability to work with rabbit and cook paella, and it was such a fond memory for me that why not go full circle, cook with rabbit again. It was the time I cooked with Ferran Adria. I spent time outside of the restaurant, they had these tiny little villages, so to be able to learn to cook a la plancha with rabbits – there was a lot of rabbit – I’d have to say rabbit.

Tony DiSalvo (Whist)

Definitely a pig. There’s just so much you can do with it, and you never get tired of eating bacon and all things related.

Ray Garcia (FIG)

That’s a tough one. I would still have to go with pig, because it’s so versatile. There’s so much flavor in it. I think a lot of people use it as this big ingredient, over the top, but there are a lot of different options. It can be subtle, it can be delicate, it can be elegant, it doesn’t always have to be big and heavy.

Quinn Hatfield (Hatfield’s)

I guess it would have to be cow, right? You’ve only got one more, you’ve got to be able to maximize uses out of it, right? Just all the different cuts. I’m a big fan of meat, and you’ve got everything from ribs and short ribs and New York and filet, then smaller cuts like brisket, and a lot of product to use, and I’m a big fan of cow.

Tai Kim (Scoops)

Maybe quail. It’s so small, so – I don’t know, personally, I like quail. You don’t see that many restaurants that serve quail.

Walter Manzke

A good chicken that’s raised in somebody’s backyard, because you almost can’t get it. Everybody says that they raise them that way, but it’s almost impossible to get one that’s really that way, and a chicken is perfect, so basic. Roast it perfectly, awesome.

Joe Miller (Joe’s)

A squab, or a pigeon. I love them. You don’t cook with them a lot these days because people can be squeamish about them. It’s something I love, and it’s not something you see a lot. It’s not something you get a lot. If that was the last thing I could cook, I would pick that.

Kerry Simon (Simon LA / LA Market)

I guess vegetables don’t fit in with an animal? [No.] Then I quit…That would be a tough one for me, because I really tend to fall back on vegetarian stuff, and fish, but I guess it would probably be beef. It’s what I grew up with, and I’m very familiar with ground beef. I work with ground beef a lot and steaks and that kind of thing in Vegas.

Shigefumi Tachibe (Chaya)

Pork. Any animal, you can use everything, but pork, you can use head, bone, insides, blood, everything, you can use it. That’s why I like pork.

Ricardo Zarate (Mo-Chica / Picca)

I probably would choose pork. I love it. I think it’s so easy to handle. You can do it so many different ways. Actually, chicken too. I love chicken.

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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Eat the Week: L.A. Schools Ditch the Milk, Pigs Suffer from Popularity, Bean Pies Get Props, and Fundamental L.A.’s Fancy Sandwiches » Poor Taste Los Angeles

[…] In an effort to fight childhood hunger, Sunday’s Taste of the Nation rallied 50 of L.A.’s best restaurants at Culver City’s Media Park… Eleven chefs, including Mo-Chica’s Ricardo Sarate, were asked what animal they would choose to […]

I think that’s a great question! Loved that many chefs said pork, I’d have to agree totally with that. Nothing like whole hog! 🙂

[…] of L.A.’s chefs tell us what kind of meat they like to cook […]

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