On June 10, at Taste of the Nation Los Angeles, I asked nine different participating chefs, What’s the most recent dish that you developed, and what was your inspiration and approach? Read their telling responses.
The newest dish that we’ve got in is a veal fillet over at Waterloo, and it’s with a saffron pasta that’s been stuffed with caramelized shallots and a braised veal belly. We serve it with summer carrots, globe carrots, a little bit of spinach, fennel puree, and then a jus gras that’s been seasoned with Sauternes.
Greg Daniels (Haven Gastropub)
One that we’re serving here is this salmon tartare, and we did that with this beautiful product that a lot of chefs are using right now, Skuna Bay salmon. It’s an artisan raised salmon out of Canada and it’s the cleanest fish I’ve ever tasted, let alone being salmon. I didn’t eat salmon cooked for a long time unless it was specifically wild. This stuff kills it. It’s wonderful. We serve it as a tartare. We put a little strawberry in there for a little tart and avocado mousse and little pumpernickel soil right on top. People love it. It’s just a balanced dish. It’s fun. It’s light. It’s going for that spring and summer menu that we just put out.
Tony DiSalvo (Whist)
All these dishes that are on the menu now were kind of developed over the course of a month. A lot of the dishes are inspirations from the last year of dining in a lot of ethnic restaurants around L.A. We kind of wanted to do a lot of things that are reflective of the city, all the global influences from the city and take little pieces from each little part of L.A. We have Japanese inspired dishes…The hamachi is cured hamachi and it has a ponzu, but we make it out of rhubarb juice instead of doing it in the traditional style. Then there’s a salad of pea shoots and seasonal ingredients like mandarins.
Mark Gold (Eva)
We just did a halibut dish with charred onions and almost like a lemon verbena beurre blanc infused with sole oil, and the inspiration behind that was the new chef. He just came to us after spending three months staging at Noma, so he’s into foraging. One thing that we’re going to be doing now is that we’ll be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Tuesday is going to be a day we’ll be foraging for the week, so every Tuesday we’ll go up into the mountains and forage and bring it back for service Wednesday through Sunday.
Perfecto Rocher (Lazy Ox Canteen)
We made rice beans with tomato pico and mixed herbs with quail and chorizo, a little chimichurri, cook it to the flame, straight to the flame. The quail is amazing…I like to cook very traditional. We do asparagus straight to the flame too, no pan, no anything. I was thinking, why don’t we do meat too? And fish? Now we want to do everything. It reminds me of Spain, in the place I live, Valencia, all people go to the orange trees and work in the orange trees, to the land, and they always cook like this, with wood fire to the flame. That is my idea, to make something like that.
Hourie Sahakian (Short Cake)
We did the brioche donut, coated in cinnamon sugar. It’s kind of like our take on the donut phenomenon, using our brioche dough, and we’ve kept it simple and classic. It’s been popular.
Jimmy Shaw (Loteria Grill)
Today we served an aguachile of callo de hacha…What inspired me was Mexican beach on a hot day. I knew it was going to be warm today, and I thought it would be a way to cool down.
Joshua Smith (Blue Cow Kitchen)
We just did a root kale Caesar salad, so there’s no romaine in the salad. It’s all shaved roots. There’s lettuce, kale, it gets tossed in a vinaigrette, squeezed out, really kind of mashed up to be like a slaw, and it goes on top of a Caesar dressing. It’s on the bottom and has croutons and Parmesan cheese, real Caesar flavors, but it’s real colorful and hearty with roots and black Tuscan kale.
Diana Stavaridis (BLD)
I’d say I’m always inspired by seasonal ingredients, so that was the latest inspiration for a nopales dish for breakfast, a cactus paddle dish with squash blossom petals, fire roasted tomato sauce, grilled marinated nopales – cactus – and queso fresco.