DineLA held a chef’s roundtable last night at the RedCat Theater downtown. The panel was headlined by major players in the LA dining scene who boast more than 100 years of experience collectively: Wolfgang Puck, Josiah Citrin, Susan Feniger, Karen Hatfield, Mark Peel and Joachim Splichal. The discussion last night started with a question that illustrated the LA dining scene's interconnected web. Each was asked to name his/her mentors and many of the chefs linked themselves back to Puck and Splichal. Both Hatfield and Peel, for example, honed their skills at Spago.
Wolfgang was the main personality of the night, delving into personal back stories more than the other participants. He described his first job at a hotel peeling vegetables in the cellar as a 14-year old kid, and also recounted his experiences in the States, bouncing from New York to Chicago to Indianapolis before finally landing in LA (his first paycheck from Ma Maison bounced).
The night wrapped with a few questions from the culinary students in attendance (a tongue-in-cheek question about whether any of the chefs were hiring was met with silence and a few delayed chuckles). Starry Kitchen catered a post reception party where the chefs stayed on to autograph cookbooks and mingle with guests.
— Yvonne Ip