Bottega Louie is one of my all time favorite restaurants in downtown LA! The beautiful decor, decadent pastry counter and consistently delicious food have kept me coming back time and time again. When I heard they had a new chef who was doing interviews you bet I had a few questions for him!
1) As an already established Chef coming into an already established restaurant what will change? Any new dishes?
Like any situation I need to see what works and what doesn’t. My style of food is very approachable with clean, clear flavors. When I create a dish I do my best to highlight the feature of the plate. The goal is to build flavor and compliment the food, not mask it. I will do my best to be smart about changes, looking at the current platform and see how we can grow it. One of our new dishes is a whole grilled branzino. It is a great example of the food I like to make. Visually appealing, simple, and full of flavor. And you dont need instructions on eating it or a dictionary to figure out what it is.
2) The Bottega Louie Chicken Parmesan is my all time favorite! Will it still be on the menu?
For now the parm is here to stay, but if we can make it better that is our goal. I always evaluate the dish and see if it is the best we can do before we change it or remove it from the menu.
3) How long have you been a Chef and what initially inspired you to become one?
I graduated from culinary school 20 years ago. Like most chefs it started at home, I spent most summers with my grandparents and they lived in a rural part of New Jersey. At that time it was nothing but farms. Our food was picked fresh everyday. I grew up with a true farm to table experience. When I was little my grandmother would drive us to a farm, I would walk to the farmers door, knock and ask for a dozen eggs. Within a couple minutes she would give me the biggest fresh brown eggs you ever saw. There were times we would go to other farms and if the farmers were busy in the field, we would choose what we wanted and leave the money in a basket. The long and short is, it is a combination of all of these things along with how much fun my grandmother made it to cook and enjoy our dinner. She would get me excited about what we were going to eat in the morning. There was something very pure about all of it that made me love it.
4) What stands out in your mind as your best food memory or meal you have ever had?
Ironically I have eaten at some if the best restaurant in the world including cellar at con roca, literally the the #1 rated place in the world, but my best memory goes back to picking food fresh from a garden. I spent time in the mountains of Spain at a friends family house. We bought sausages from a local butcher, picked our vegetables from their garden and grilled our food on a fire built from grape vines. Drank some cheap wine and relaxed. Thats one of my top meals ever!
5) What would be your “death row meal”? Mine would be my husbands grandmothers tacos!
My grandmothers bolognese, in all these years of cooking I still can’t make it better than her.
If you haven’t been to Bottega Louie put it at the top of your list! It is located at 700 South Grand Ave.