Q. What's your philosophy at "blue on blue?"A. When I came to blue on blue in 2008, I wanted to find a playful approach to the menu, and give it my own twist. I’m a Southern boy, I was born in Texas and grew up around the Louisiana border, so that’s where most of my cooking style comes from. I’ve got to give a shout out to every single little road side boudin and meat pie and bbq place from Texas to Tennessee, they’ve all influenced my cooking.
I like simple food with French technique, so at the restaurant, I like to take California cuisine – the best from the farmer’s market -- and apply refined techniques with a Southern twist. I love grits, I love succotash, I love cornbread, so you’ll see elements of those on my menus. For instance, I recently did an English pea soup with cornbread croutons. I did a gala apple pie with foie gras, a la mode, and the a la mode was black peppercorn ice cream, served with sweet and salty caramel sauce. I love beets, so I did a borcht, a chilled golden beet soup with pancetta, served with a lobster salad made with arugula from our rooftop garden.
I like to do fried chicken, but it’s Jidori chicken crispy, and served with roasted garlic grits and baby artichoke. This is one of our most popular items on the menu. I like to try the wacky and the weird, so I did a dish called “rise and shine" -- that was a buckwheat waffle with foie gras, duck breast and a quail egg, served with maple sauce. I’m now playing with snails, doing a creamy cognac snail with Indian fry bread.
Q. What are your favorite farm markets?I work on Wednesday so I never make it to the Santa Monica Farm market on Wednesdays, but on the weekends I love the West Los Angeles Farm Market, the Beverly Hills Farm Market and the Brentwood Farm market. I try to hit all three. They’re perfect. Take away all the filler and what you’ve got at these are farm markets in their rarest and purest form.
Q. Where do you love to eat when you're not the one cooking?
- Anisette. It’s laid back and rustic, like the food you’d get on the side of the road in France.
- West Side Tavern. I love the mussels and the baked artichoke there.
- Hayama. I live in the Sawtelle area, and there's a lot of great Japanese and Shabu Shabu there. I love Hayama.
- For Mexican, Don Antonio’s -- and don’t be surprised to see me at El Super Taco at three in the morning.
- For hamburgers, I love The Apple Pan on Pico.
- For breakfast: The Local Yolk in Manhattan Beach, Omelette Parlor on Main Street in Santa Monica. My secret pleasure? Café 50s.