Pasadena resident and Vertical Wine Bistro executive chef Laurent Quenioux is a semifinalist for the 2011 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards. He received the esteemed nod under the Best Chef: Pacific category for his restaurant Bistro LQ in Los Angeles.
Quenioux said he is honored by the recognition and glad to be in such good company among many great chefs. The Beard Awards are the most prestigious given to culinary professionals in the United States.
In our March/April issue, Quenioux talked with staff writer Claudia S. Palma about his culinary career and living in the Crown City.
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The Dining Room at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena is set to become The Royce under its new Chef de Cuisine David Fau.
Fau honed his culinary skills under famed Parisian chef Guy Savoy.
“The Royce will be accessible fine dining at its best, and I want guests to feel completely at home when they walk through the doors,” Fau said in a statement. “We will showcase the beauty and complex flavors of local produce and pure ingredients, and invite guests to experience the gastronomic wonders of true cooking.”
Interview by Claudia S. Palma
ROSE: What inspired you to be a chef?
Guiltinan: I watched cooking shows growing up. I started cooking at home, then I started working at a restaurant at 16 or 17 years old. I’ve worked from bartender to pizza delivery to management. I spent a year and a haIf as a prep cook and that was really good. It shaped who I am as a cook. I’m able to teach the new cooks coming out of school. I don’t do good following people, I gotta be at the top of the line. I worked at big corporation restaurants and they’re good for learning but not good for creativity. It’s very stressful and not rewarding. If you don’t get to reward yourself with the creativity side, you might as well sit in an office.
Dish Bistro‘s Job Carder has a slow-food approach to cuisine in his kitchen on Union Street. He makes all the house breads and pastas; handmade sausages and charcuterie; and cured bacon, prosciutto and pancetta.
Above is the executive chef’s half-roasted Jidori chicken, which he serves with stuffed garlic and thyme. The chicken is slow-roasted with veggies, like sunburst and pattypan squash, Thumbelina carrots, Chambord-glazed cipollini onions and baby turnips.
“I like to stay as true to the ingredients that I’m using as possible and not mask them or overpower them with a bunch of herbs or spices,” Carder said. “I believe that everything should be as clean and pure as possible. … I do it the old-world way.”
Carder said he spends a lot of time building relationships with farmers, creameries and the like.
“Luckily, they’re willing to ship to me, so we can have … produce that is all sourced locally,” he said. “My lamb comes direct from the farmer, my cheese comes direct from the creamery, my fish comes right out of Bodega Bay to me.”
For his summer menu, expect to see Carder working with tomatoes and figs, among other fresh ingredients.
“In the summer, the tomatoes are plump and lush and colorful — that’s when you want to use them,” he says. “And figs: I adore figs, I love figs.”
Dish Bistro & Bar, 53 E. Union St., (626) 795-5546, dishbistroandbar.com
More photos after the jump: