Chefs Michael Cimarusti and Dan Hunter Collaborate on 11-Course Tasting Menu
New to the L.A. food scene this year is L.A. Food Bowl, a month-long foodie dream celebrating culinary creativity while creating awareness about food waste and hunger. Sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, the event consists of dinners, workshops, parties and panels with well-known chefs. Checking out the line up on the LA Times website could send you into a severe state of FOMO. I decided to attend “A Taste of Brae with Dan Hunter and Michael Cimarusti.”
The dinner, held on May 20, was a collaboration between Cimarusti, chef and restaurateur at the seafood-focused Providence, and Hunter who is chef and owner of Brae, a renowned restaurant set on a farm in the Otway hinterland near Melbourne, Australia. In fact, Brae was recognized as one of the top 50 best restaurants in the world for 2017.
LA Food Bowl 2017
Cimarusti and Hunter created an 11-course tasting menu heavily focused on shellfish, from California box crab with smoked sesame, kani miso and soy milk to Big Island abalone with grilled avocado, grated tortilla and dill.
For me, peas were the star of the meal. Not only did I start with a refreshing cocktail of “She Sells Pea Shells”—a mix of tequila, Sancerre, mint and pea tendrils—but one of the most flavorful courses was the calamari with fermented celeriac, barbecued peas and beef fat. Yes, beef fat. When you’re eating 11 course, you just don’t sweat a little beef fat.
What looked like a tiny pile of peas on a huge plate ended up being a favorite for many at the table, the texture of the calamari paring perfectly with the crunchy, smoky peas.
The melt-in-your-mouth scallops with lemon aspen, green strawberry and grilled asparagus also did not disappoint.
Despite the four-plus-hour dining experience with free-flowing wine, I left with a happy and not overly-stuffed belly. That was a first for me with a tasting menu. I chock it up to a lack of carbs.
Given the success of this inaugural event, it’s sure to be return in spring 2018.