Just days after being shut out by the James Beard Foundation Awards in Chicago, the Los Angeles food media landscape is back in full force. Both the LA Times and LA Weekly have dropped a number of profiles on culinary names both big and small, focusing on how the important people in the restaurant industry are changing things for the better — and how this city is changing them back.
First up is this collection from the Times, which presents a question and answer format with a number of known names. There’s Bryant Ng of Cassia in Santa Monica, sharing a story about his family’s immigrant history and their struggle to run a restaurant of their own not purely out of love and passion, but out of necessity. Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson of Kismet and Madcapra call Los Angeles a true “city of migrants,” which leads to all the unique dining experiences that are only possible here. Chicago transplant Dave Beran agrees, talking up the farmers markets and the people in equal measure.
Meanwhile, LA Weekly is dropping its annual People issue with a number of cool names in food. Among them is Ted Cizma, the former Charlie Trotter restaurant alum who moved in-house with SpaceX in Hawthorne six years ago, and is now literally feeding the next great minds in space travel. There’s Shibumi chef/owner David Schlosser, a high-minded migrant himself who spent years in Japan learning his trade. And there’s George Yu, the quiet non-chef mind behind much of Chinatown’s recent rebirth — and a vocal advocate for its future.
Other features around town include Helen Johannesen, the all-around badass and wine director for the Jon & Vinny restaurant group, and Republique’s own wine maestro Maria Garcia. Even LA Magazine has been leaning into the local chef beat more lately, with a feature a couple of weeks ago by critic Patric Kuh on Jeremy Fox and his process when creating a dish from scratch. It all adds up to one very simple fact: Despite the awards or the big-name out of town chefs, Los Angeles is still doing it all on its own. This is a city absolutely packed with talent, and it’s always a pleasure watching a few of the city’s many great names get their individual due.