As the sun sets in the glowing hazy Los Angeles sky, we are surrounded by palm trees and the interesting architectural design of LACMA. We dine on mind blowing bites from around the US as the rising young chefs come up with concoctions to make our taste buds want more. Surrounded by hip uniquely dressed Angelenos, I think to myself THIS is why I love LA so much!
I am giddy from the gin and grapefruit juice, agave and fennel that were being expertly brought to us all night. I want to dance and flit around. This event may be my favorite way to enjoy exceptional food. Each station had one or two of their signature selections that you could bring to your table to try. Party goers have to mingle as they sample bites from all over the outdoor courtyard.
The Master Young Gun Chefs included:
Mike Brown, Travail and Pig Ate My Pizza, Minneapolis
Jeremy Hoffman, Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, VA
Ryan Lachaine, Underbelly, Houston
Matt Lackey, Flyte, Nashville
Jessica Largey, Manresa, Los Gatos/San Fran, CA
Mitch Lienhard, Grace, Chicago
Hourie Sahakian, Short Cake, Los Angeles
Jason Wang, Xi’an Famous Foods, New York
Kris Morningstar, Ray’s & Stark Bar, Los Angeles, CA
My favorite dishes included Flyte’s 60 day aged beef with beets and strawberries and the perfect salt crystals; LA’s Ray’s & Star Bar’s octopus with toasted broccoli, burrata, salsa calabrese, and sunflower seeds; San Francisco’s restaurant Manresa’s strawberry gazpacho with lemon verbena. The nut, flowers and creme-friache added a wonderful touch. Restaurant Eve’s pork belly on a mini stick provided a melt in your mouth experience, and Ryan Lachaine of Underbelly has me dreaming of another bite of his juicy meat on top of a lettuce leaf.
The most beautiful looking Meyer lemon I have ever seen came from Mitch Lienhard from Grace in Chicago. The Meyer lemon was like an artistic portrait filled with curd, tapioca and fennel. Patina even served this wonderful crudo, or giant pieces of white raw fish, with pigskin cracklings like a ceviche that was just divine.
The longest line of the night was for Jason Wang’s lamb burgers from Xi’an Famous Foods. We missed making a burrata dish from Mike Brown and his Travail/Pig Ate My Pizza team as they presented the dish on the backs of party-goers’ hands and followed it up with Pop Rocks frozen in liquid nitrogen. Burrata seemed to be the most popular ingredient, which I think goes well with everything. The band Yellow Red Sparks created the night time ambiance as the food and drinks flowed.
We met some interesting people at our table who thought my friend Brian Lee was famous, and that I was Kat O’Dell, the Editor of Eater LA or the maestro of this extravaganza. We sat next to the very proud mother of Austin chef Shion Aikawa of Ramen Tatsu-Ya and her husband lawyer Bruce Friedman. They made our table eating experience tons of fun as they snapped pics of us and devoured bites in unison.
Apothic Wines were also being handed out. I ran to get a chilled ice coffee from LA’s Short Cake as an in between mixer and enjoyed their tart cherry mini biscuit pastries. Generous sponsors included Bombay Sapphire East, Agave In the Raw, Kettle Chips, Trumer Pils, The Bruery, Apothic Wines, Eco-Eats Partyware and Choose Chicago. The night ended as hilariously fun Mike Brown of Travail and Pig Ate My Pizza gave the Young Guns and crowd a fervent champagne soak. The revelry was a great way to end their night of hard work.
The Eater Young Guns Class of 2013 comprises a group of 15 of the most distinguished young chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers and hospitality industry professionals in the country. These are the junior statesmen of the culinary world who have most distinguished themselves this year, and who are its next stars. The class of 15 include four women and 11 men; seven chefs, three beverage pros, two pastry chefs, and three front-of-house leaders. The youngest on the list just turned 25 (Jayce McConnell). The oldest, with just four years in the business, is 38 (Ryan Lachaine).
Cool Fact I learned online: 75 percent of the Young Guns ate at Son of a Gun and Animal while they were in town. Other favorites included Bestia, Gjelina, and Bay Cities.