Setting LA’s new standard for deluxe dining on-demand is Modern Art Catering (modernartcatering.com), the dynamic young company created by entrepreneur Chef Matthew Antoun.
Antoun launched MAC in late 2010, based in Pasadena, California in response to the begging and pleading from his colleagues in the entertainment industry, museums and galleries, architecture, fundraising and other high-end arenas where billion-dollar deals may be made over a seemingly casual cocktail and appetizer. The usual suspects on the Los Angeles catering scene had run out of ideas, tediously reheating concepts from a decade earlier.
Based on growing buzz from a few choice industry events and high-profile private bashes catered by Chef Antoun, Modern Art Catering entered the scene with contemporary, global approach. Chef Antoun’s recipes, such as cumin-crusted butter-poached lobster, or cilantro-jalapeño hummus, marry the precise, refined methodology of classical French cooking with vibrant ingredients reflecting diverse ethnic cooking traditions. Earthy, intense flavors and brilliant colors meet with stylized, witty presentation to create sensual luxury that feels young, cool, and urban.
In addition to creating unique menus for corporate events and private gatherings, MAC also develops catering programs for corporate meetings (clients include yoga brand Lululemon’s headquarters in San Diego, where the fare is strictly organic), gourmet interpretations of studio “craft services” tables, and wrap parties for the entertainment industry. Because here in Los Angeles, even the most laid-back gathering may wield tremendous influence, such as the casual dinner Chef Antoun and the MAC team created for Peter Fonda.
Chef Antoun recalls, “We made some great lamb with a carrot gelee, artichoke tzaziki, and a beet vinaigrette, after starting the menu with a soup of roasted fingerling potatoes, red onion marmalade and a sweet onion broth. He told me some amazing stories, and talked about his days as the ‘Easy Rider’.”
An earlier fete which helped to put Chef Antoun on the upscale catering map was the wildly inventive holiday cocktail party which he and his team created for the acclaimed architectural firm of Richard Meier and Partners. The setting was the Meier-designed Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, which Chef Antoun used as thematic inspiration, creating a selection of hors d’oeuvres based upon the artworks of Picasso, Rothko, Hockney, Albers, Flavin, Miró and Hirst.
Chef Antoun, who is now at work on his first cookbook, comments, “Cooking, like all of the arts, does not stand still. We love the traditional techniques, and use them to make the most of the colors and aromatic aspects of foods which are now available year-round here in California. And, we find that food is made even more delicious when it’s accessible and easy to eat.”