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Los Angeles’s Independent Restaurant Streak Is Alive and Well

Plus a Howlin’ Ray’s charity event, and Tommy’s for Christmas

A small bite from a tasting menu restaurant, served on a bowl of rocks.
A dish from Kato
Instagram Official

Keeping it indie

A so-called Indie Chefs Week took place in Los Angeles recently, with big names (and up-and-comers) cooking together in some of the city’s best kitchens. The idea was to foster the independent restaurant spirit, with young new talent as well as adventurous chefs who have been doing their own thing for a while. It all begged the question though, what really is an indie chef?

FoodGPS asked around to a number of names, and got some pretty great responses. For someone like Michael Fiorelli of Love & Salt, independence is cooking what matters to you; for Craig Thornton of Wolvesmouth or Jon Yao of Kato, it’s about forging your own path. For others there are job titles and money to consider, but one thing remained constant: Indie chefs are about the passion and the spirit as much as the paycheck.

Chef of the year

Salt’s Cure chef/owner Chris Phelps has been named a chef of the year by Planned Parenthood. Phelps is apparently a longtime supporter, and he will be honored at the non-profit’s annual Food Fare event in Santa Monica on March 1.

That jingle

Tommy’s has a new video out, and it’s just the thing LA needs to truly get in the holiday spirit. With flowing chili, a catchy jingle, and Santa Claus, it’s sure to be the hit of the winter.

Barilla pasta, but a restaurant

The folks behind Barilla pasta has officially opened their Italian restaurant at USC Village. It’s called Casa Barilla, and takes over some 1,800 square feet of prime pasta space (plus beer and wine) with daily hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Herringbone x LA Kitchen

Santa Monica’s Herringbone is doing some good this holiday season, offering a portion of proceeds from their leek and white bean cassoulet ($18) to the LA Kitchen all month long. Eat beans, do good.

Silver Lake block party

Sweetfin, FrankieLucy, Vinovore, and bunch more folks are throwing a block party tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Silver Lake. Expect crafts and food and fun galore.

Doing more good

Anyone who hasn’t been able to wait in the Howlin’ Ray’s line but has some extra cash laying around would do well to jump on this holiday fundraiser. The Chinatown chicken option is partnering with The Hundreds this month to raise holiday donation money by offering a small number of $50 tickets that get customers a chicken sandwich, a shirt, and no line.

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