Saturday, September 14, 2013

Animal's Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook are Lexus' Latest Culinary Masters

red beets, yogurt, blackberry, hibiscus, shiso
Why should the average diner care who Lexus has chosen to join its Culinary Masters program? Well, it's an interesting look at the world of celebrity cheffage that works like this:
1) Lexus wants to sell cars, of course, and its upscale car owners love good restaurants.
2) Chefs need exposure both to get more customers for their restaurants and to hit the next level with TV, books, etc.
3) So Lexus sponsors numerous events such as L.A. Food and Wine that help the chefs get that exposure, and gets to invite its best clients and potential customers.
For the rest of us, events like Wednesday's Cooking with Friends dinner at Animal was a chance to try more of Shook and Dotolo's dishes as well as some from Top Chef alum Michelle Bernstein of the Miami restaurant Michy's.
It was lower on offal than some Animal dinners can be, but no less interesting. Among the standouts:

Fried oysters with smoked potato salad and ramp mayo. The smoked potatoes still linger in my mind days later. I may need to buy some sort of home smoker arrangement.

Egg, Italian sausage, fried broccoli, garlic bread: If someone could come and make this for my breakfast on the weekend, I would appreciate it. Broccoli should always be fried, if possible. As the egg yolk melts into the bouillon, a rich broth is created from the sausage and pepper juice, the better for dipping a piece of garlic bread.

Chorizo and chocolate cremeux, plum, sherry, streusel: Who would think of putting chorizo in a dessert? Not the Animal guys, but Bernstein would. This dessert had too much going on for some at our table, and it's true that adding a cheese crisp to chocolate, plum and chorizo flavors was maybe more umami than strictly necessary. But I'm a big savory desserts fan, so it all worked for me.

Did it all make me want to buy a Lexus? I'm not sure, but it certainly exposed me to even more of Animal's wonderful food, and instilled a fierce need to learn how to smoke potatoes.

1 comment:

pstol said...

omgawd--what do I have to do to get those beets? Looks. So. Good.