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The LA Chef Conference Returns After a Three-Year Hiatus

Plus, Italian sandwiches are on the way to LA, and two legendary spots close their doors

Wolfgang Puck cooks for the Oscar guests in a black chef coat.
Wolfgang Puck.
Photo by Barbara Munker/picture alliance via Getty Images

After a nearly three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the LA Chef Conference returns on Monday, October 17. It will bring together both the city’s most established culinary talent and notable up-and-comers in the field at the Jonathan Club in downtown LA for a full day of programming (and, of course, eating).

The event, produced by culinary recruiter Brad Metzger’s Restaurant Solutions, kicked off in 2018. This year’s panels will cover everything from “Conceptualizing Tomorrow: The Future of the Restaurant Model” to “Six-Figure Sous Chef: Crisis in the Labor Market” and will feature speakers that include LA legends Wolfgang Puck and Suzanne Goin, Stephanie Izard of The Girl & The Goat, Providence’s Michael Cimarusti, Lien Ta of All Day Baby and Here’s Looking at You, Kato’s Jon Yao, and more.

The event has a charitable bent as well, with 15 percent of of ticket sales will going toward the LA Chef Conference/James Beard Foundation Culinary Scholarship to support an LA area C-CAP student who would like to pursue a career in the culinary arts. In addition, a chef art auction, featuring work by Nyesha Arrington and Slab’s Burt Bakman, will benefit local organization No Us Without You.

And given that this is a conference for and about chefs, there will be cooking demos featuring the likes of Rashida Jones from Bridgetown Roti, and plenty of food, including one-of-a-kind collaborations from Anajak Thai chef/owner Justin Pichetrungsi joining forces with Lawry’s the Prime Rib, and Daybird’s Mei Lin working with Astrea Caviar.

Tickets go on sale September 1. Get more information and the full schedule here.

Ice cream social

The bakery Loaf Language, which developed the Mochi Krunchie (a nostalgic play on Rice Krispie Treats using mochi), is popping up at Yoboseyo! Superette in Little Tokyo this Saturday, August 27, serving its first-ever Mochi Krunchies ice cream sandwiches made with 626 Hospitality Group’s Asian-inspired ice cream. They’ll come in four flavor combinations, including black sesame Krunchies with white sesame ice cream. Preorders for the pop-up must be placed by Wednesday at noon PST; do so here.

A couple of closures

Air Mail reports that Il Piccolino, the West Hollywood Italian restaurant that attracted the who’s who of Hollywood (and even named dishes after some of them) since 2005, has closed its doors. The exact reasons for the closure remain unknown, although the article suggests high rent may be the culprit.

Elsewhere legendary fish taco destination James Beach will be closing its doors after 27 years in Venice Beach. The restaurant, featured in the comedy I Love You Man starring Paul Rudd and Jason Siegel, announced on Instagram that it will be selling a variety of art, trinkets, and more this Tuesday and Wednesday, August 30 and 31. It promises more details in the coming days.

All’Antico Vinaio continues stateside expansion

Those who attended the 2019 pop-up at Chi Spacca for Florence-based sandwich shop All’Antico Vinaio will remember lines that snaked around the block for sandwiches that piled salami, cheese, and the like on fluffy, focaccia-like bread called schiacciata. According to a new report, restaurateur and Mozza partner Joe Bastianich, who opened a brick-and-mortar location of the shop in New York City, is planning to bring the sandwiches to Los Angeles with a permanent location “in Koreatown,” although details remain scarce.

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