Hot Chef September: Ari Taymor

Smoked. Lavender.  Duck.  Three sexy words in my culinary dictionary and what chef-on-the-rise, Ari Taymor, was preparing during his recent cooking demo at the Los Angeles Times Taste event that closed summer with a delicious bang.  Despite having a close mutual friend, I had never met Chef Taymor, but had heard only amazing things about his downtown restaurant, Alma.  As I sat in the front row of his demo, I was actually nervous to be so close to a chef that is making such a statement in the restaurant world!  I was chef-struck, you could say…ari

Taymor has a very delicate philosophy when it comes to the preparation and cooking of his dishes.  He is sensitive to the words and life of the ingredients.  He takes the time to listen to them and to tell their story as accurately as possible — a unique trait in a chef so young.  This was apparent when he mentioned that he does not use tongs in his kitchen.  He explained that meat should always be handled gently, “You don’t want to tear anything, always use a spatula.”   Note taken.  He is also a huge advocate of low heat cooking.  This, he believes, is the best way to bring out the natural sugars.

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There is a great deal of respect that goes into Taymor’s cooking as well.  He doesn’t just enjoy his ingredients, he appreciates them.  He has a relationship with them and that translates into incredible tasting food.  He believes that there should always be something living on his plates.  For example, in the demo, he added raw blackberries as a garnish.  That specific intent is what sets his creations apart.  He has a cooking ideology and sticks to it.

When I asked Taymor where he found inspiration I got a lovely varied answer.  “Markets, the garden, the environment, music sometimes.”  He went to explain that like music, a great meal should capture a moment. “You should identify moments with food.”  I understood his statement as meaning that the sense memory one experiences when they hear a song and go back and relive that moment should be recognized in dining experiences as well.

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I was also curious about Taymor’s role-models.  He did not hesitate to thoughtfully list, Michel Roux of London’s Le Garroche, David Kinch of Manresa in Los Gatos, California, and Iñaki Aizpitarte of Paris’ Le Chateaubriand.  Impressive list.

Favorite flavors to cook with include:  “Bitter, fermented, aged (meat), and mineral flavors.”  Diners will find buckwheat grass to be a staple garnish at Alma.  Taymor likes it’s rich grassiness and slightly bitter taste.

When asked where he thought the future of American cuisine was going, he replied, “It’s getting personal.  It’s chefs wanting to share their personal experiences with the customers.  It’s becoming more authentic.”  Taymor finds satisfaction in, “watching people take a bite and forgetting they’re in a restaurant.”  Clearly, this is a chef with a future that has just begun to affect us.  I suspect we will be forgetting where we are for years to come.

Would you like to dine at Alma? Reservations can be made here http://alma-la.com/

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Categories: Chefs, Dining Event, Restaurant News

Author:The Food Pervert

Tara Redfield, The Food Pervert, is an actress, writer, host and obviously food lover. She started her blog and website, "The Food Pervert," in 2010 after an incredible visit to New York City. Her soul acknowledged a genuine passion for food and a desire to share her experiences with friends and family. She’s been sharing ever since. One of her most exciting experiences living in Los Angeles has been working on the TLC reality cooking show, “The Take Home Chef” with the charming and talented Curtis Stone. Redfield has a true love for cooking, dining, travel and story telling. She continues to spread the food love by visiting restaurants, markets, and food festivals as often as possible and sharing her finds through photos and stories. TV Host Representation: Paul Barrutia Commercial Talent 9255 Sunset Blvd. Ste. 505 West Hollywood, CA 90069 310.247.1431

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