I asked 10 prominent L.A. chefs, “If you could travel to any city in the world right now, primarily to eat, what would it be and why?” The responses might surprise you.
Victor Casanova (Culina)
I have a deep admiration for anything Italian. I’d probably go to Bologna and I’d probably have a very traditional thing like tortelloni en brodo. It’s typically filled with things like prosciutto and all things delicious, right? Like mortadella, prosciutto, maybe like ground pork shoulder, maybe a little veal, that kind of thing. It’s rich and sexy and sensual, well balanced, in a very delicate and aromatic, strong, earthy broth, if you will. It contradicts everything in the United States we think of as being a typical pasta dish. Because of that, I crave things like that.
Josiah Citrin (Melisse)
I would probably go back to Tokyo. I went there once and it was really rushed. I just loved it. I also would like to go to Thailand, Bangkok or somewhere, but probably Tokyo at this time, right now.
Rory Herrmann (Bouchon Beverly Hills)
I would love to travel to London right now and go back to Dinner, Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant in Knightsbridge. In particular, I would like to eat their signature dish called “Meat and Fruit” which I’ve had before and thoroughly enjoyed. Aesthetically appealing and perfectly executed—it is exactly what you would expect while dining in Chef Heston’s restaurant.
Haru Kishi (Chaya Brasserie)
I would say Peru and their nikkei food because it touches my Japanese background and mix of culture is what I am as well!
Kris Morningstar (Ray’s & Stark Bar)
That’s a tough question. My knee-jerk reaction is New York, because I’ve just been there and I haven’t gotten my fill. I don’t know. It would probably be some little country town somewhere, and I probably haven’t figured out where that is yet. I don’t have the right answer, but it would be somewhere where the food and the harmony of the place is more magical. You can go to the meal and have an amazing eating week, like New York, where it’s like, “I love this. I love this,” but there’s times where I remember being, years ago, in Italy, in this 40-person town in this small fortress and just having great pasta and amazing food. The place wasn’t spectacular, it wasn’t Michelin, but the food was soulful and homey and done by mom somewhere. It was great. If I had time to figure out what place in the world that would be, it’d be that.
David Myers (David Myers Group: Comme Ca, Pizzeria Ortica, Sola, David Myers Cafe)
Tokyo. Overall most exciting and diverse place to dine. The Japanese are leading the world with the most Michelin star restaurants and there focus on traditional Japanese fare such as sushi, kaiseki, kappo is truly an experience.
Bryant Ng (The Spice Table)
I would definitely like to visit Hue and Central Vietnam. My wife, Kim, was born in Central Vietnam. The food is very diverse, fresh, and not very well understood in the Western world. People grow their own crops, raise animals for sustenance, and catch their own seafood. Overused phrases like “farm-to-table” are often used to describe a restaurant’s food/philosophy, there they just call it “dinner.”
Wolfgang Puck (Hotel Bel-Air, WP24, Chinois on Main, Spago…)
Capri, Italy. I like everything about it. Great food and people dress very well when they go out at night. One of the best meals I had the last time I was there was pasta, local fish and strawberries and gelato for dessert. Amazing food and a beautiful setting.
Giselle Wellman (Petrossian)
This I such a difficult question for me to answer because there are so many places I still have yet to go and discover. I want to taste real Italian food in a hole in the wall in Italy. I would love to smell a truffle right after it’s discovered. I want to have street food in Korea, taste the skin of a pig after its roasted in the Philippines. I would love to walk in to a macaron bakery in Paris. I would love to have a amazing cut I beef from Argentina!! I am all over the place. I cannot pick just one.
Kris Yenbamroong (Night + Market)
I would go back to Lima. I went to Lima maybe eight years ago, or five years ago, maybe six years ago. I went with a good friend who’s Peruvian, and she showed me around all the different cities in Peru. This little place in Lima was probably one of my biggest inspirations for starting Night + Market. It was kind of like a little bodega. They sold dried goods like toilet paper and bottles of liquor, canned foods, that sort of thing, but in the front they also had a little sort of deli counter with three things. You could get a sandwich where it would be either marinated sardines, some sort of roast, like roast pork shoulder, and some sort of maybe cheese thing, you’d get on sliced bread. It was basically like a market/deli. That’s basically what I wanted to do. There are a lot of places like that in Thailand, where they sell instant ramen and various other dry goods, and they also have some sort of noodle shop in front, and it’s the best food you’ve ever had. That’s some of the best food I’ve ever had.