Now that Top Chef Season 11 has wrapped, former contestant and chef Brian Huskey has officially split from Ricardo Zarate's restaurant group. His first project as a solo chef about town is at West Hollywood's historic Formosa Cafe. When Red Medicine's team pulled out of Formosa Cafe, food service all but stopped.
Reached by phone, Huskey explains: "The owner approached me a couple of weeks ago to see if I wanted to take this on. I've only been in the kitchen for a few days, and we haven't officially launched anything, but it's on." Huskey is currently doing research and development and testing out menu items each night, but won't be launching his full menu until late June.
"I think Formosa's a really awesome venue because it's super iconic. But you can't live by a place's history. I'm not trying to do a super chef-y approach. I'm doing a Latin and Asian-inspired bar menu. There's going to be a griddled burger with Korean barbecue glaze, kimchi, onion, arugula, and white cheddar. I finally have a home for my fried chicken sandwich with sweet potato puree and sambal. Everyone loves chips and guac, so I'm doing puffed rice crackers with guacamole. My goal is to push out fun flavor profiles that are memorable."
Huskey is bringing on a sous chef and kitchen manager to run the place on a day-to-day basis after he's finished developing the menu, and his team will be re-doing some of the cocktails as well. "Bottom line: I want to make it a fun place to hang out again," says Huskey. Consider popping into Formosa in a couple of weeks to test taste the new menu. Looking ahead, Huskey has his eyes on launching a fast casual concept downtown that will be "LA cafe meets fish grill meets chicken cafe."
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