Feeding the Unwashed Masses

I am not a caterer.

Caterers have large refrigerators and big stainless steel warming trays and things like that. I’m a chef. I have knives. And I like to see the looks on people’s faces when they taste something good that I have made. It’s hard to do that when you’ve laid out a buffet for 200 people.

The menu

The menu

So, I approached the silent auction I was cooking for as if it was just a big dinner I was doing for 200 of my friends. (Which is essentially what it was anyway.) More

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The Scott Murphy Hat

People often give me items for cooking or the kitchen that are sometimes useful, sometimes not. And you never quite know at first in which direction they will fall.

The Scott Murphy Hat

The Scott Murphy Hat

For example, you may open a Christmas gift to discover a beautifully designed utensil from Williams-Sonoma that looks like something you couldn’t live without, and find over time that you have no use for it at all. Conversely, someone may hand you something you couldn’t imagine ever using, and it winds up being one of your MVPs (Most Valuable Products). Such was the case with the Scott Murphy hat. More

Clarity of Flavor

One day recently, I was reading a restaurant review by one of the great treasures of the L.A. culinary scene, our Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer, Jonathan Gold. If you don’t know Jonathan or his work, he is a grizzled hippy Jewish rocker who used to write concert reviews for the L.A. Times, and at some point transitioned to food — and now is one of the country’s most celebrated authors on all things edible, the only food critic ever to win the Pulitzer. He brings a literate rock & roll sensibility to his reviews that is perfectly suited for Jim Morrison’s City of Night.

The makings of a perfect dinner.

Anyway, in this particular review, he was praising the fresh, focused cooking of whatever restaurant it was (“seasonal, well-sourced produce presented in a way that lets its virtues shine through undisturbed”) against the prevailing trend of molecular cooking and the “restless mutation that modernism needs to survive”. He went on to point out that ” in California, the taste of a Cara Cara orange straight from the tree will always eclipse the flashier pleasures made possible by a packet of xanthan gum.” More

King Seamus

My friend Paul lovingly calls me “Seamus.” But I know a real Seamus — how many people outside of Ireland can say that? (Do you know a Seamus??)


Our friend Seamus is a man with a lust for life. Once at a party at our home, I had grilled a Herculean pork shoulder. I was busy tending to guests, wine and so forth, and when I came out to the large table on our deck, Seamus was standing at the head in his flowing white cotton shirt, his long flowing dark hair and thick English accent — holding court, quaffing wine and gesturing grandly as he carved the pork shoulder, a scene that might’ve been pulled from the pages of Shakespeare. More

Pink Wine is for Chicks

Culinarily speaking, summertime is a feminine season. Sure, the dudes are out by the grill — sucking beer, flipping burgers and talking pre-season football. But it is the salads, the lightly seared skinless chicken breast pailliards, the peaches and the pink wines that prevail.

Pink wine and figs

I sit here drinking my pink wine and looking at a bowl of figs, feeling emasculated. By late August, I’m wondering where is the cold weather and a long-braised leg of some animal? More

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