José Andrés : A Gastronomic Delight

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 I’m always looking to the future and what will next be on the horizon. For now no, but LA is part of my family, so maybe one day.

When it comes to José Andrés’ resume, the question that should be asked is ‘what hasn’t he done?’ The 43-year-old Spaniard who is often credited with bringing the small plates concept to America, is the owner of 15 American restaurants. He defeated fellow superchef Bobby Fay on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America, appeared as a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef and found the time to write three cookbooks. He has won a plethora of awards including the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s Oustanding Chef Award, which is the highest honor an American chef can receive. The Cabinet of Spain voted to award the chef with the Order of Arts and Letters in 2010. As if that weren’t enough, he’s also a professor and has been teaching the class “The World on a Plate” at George Washington University. Haute Living sat down with Andrés’ to discover the secrets to his international success.

Finish this sentence: “Jose Andres is….A lucky boy! I have an amazing wife and three daughters that always keep me motivated. And I’m also very thankful to have an incredible team of people around me in LA, Las Vegas, Miami, DC and Puerto Rico that is dedicated and always hungry to learn and share that knowledge with the world.

You’ve recently renovated [concept restaurant] minibar. What changes did you make, and why did you choose to make them? Minibar is my nerve center. It’s where everything begins. We have 12 seats now so you can say we grew by 100%! But space, and the room that the chefs and I now have to experiment and try new things allows endless possibilities.

What new additions will you be making to the cocktail and food menus at The Bazaar in 2013? What you will have to experience is the astonishing black truffle dinner series that we are unveiling for this year at SAAM, the tasting menu restaurant inside The Bazaar. Truffles are so sexy and I’m very excited about the dinners we will do this year. Also right now my boy Rob Floyd is hosting these amazing cocktail classes on the first Sunday of each month. It’s a great opportunity for our guests to learn more about the story and inspiration behind our cocktails. Any plans to add additional restaurants in LA? I’m always looking to the future and what will next be on the horizon. For now no, but LA is part of my family, so maybe one day.

You’ve enjoyed huge international success as a celebrity chef. What does it take to make it in the industry? I feel very lucky, humbled to be recognized for what I live to do, but TV is not why we do what we do. We cook to tell stories and to try new things. At the same time, this is one of the hardest professions that there is. It may look glamorous but at the end of the day you have lots of work to do, and people counting on you. You always need to be hungry to learn and that will help you grow. But most importantly, I would say never lose your spirit. It was Winston Churchill who said “success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” These are words to live by.

What are your favorite spots in LA for: breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, coffee and cocktails and why?When I am not in the kitchen with my team, I love Nobu by Nobu Matsuhisa. In the spirit of sushi, I also love Sushi Zo; I always try to stop by when I am in town. Umami is a great place to go for burgers, and I also like what the guys at Red Medicine are doing.

How would you describe your personal style? Simple… as a chef, I’m always in my chef whites and that makes things easy.

Where do you love to shop for clothing in LA? I love going to Rodeo Drive with my wife. I just bought an amazing cashmere jacket from Loro Piana, an astonishing Italian designer. At the SLS there is this little treasure of a store called Regalo, where you can pick up really unique gifts. You’ll find beautiful things from Assouline, like books on art, and pieces from Baccarat, D.L. & Co and more.

What charities are important to you and why? In 2010 I created World Central Kitchen as a way to try and help find solutions to many of the food issues we face. We are helping to build a bakery at an orphanage in Port-au-Prince. Soon we’ll be traveling back to Haiti to train the bakers. We’re also working in Fonds- Verrettes to create a sustainable school canteen. And in Ouanaminthe, Haiti, we are working with group of over 90 women to create a catering business. In a battle of the chefs, who would be your stiffest competition, and why? Why battle? Let just open a bottle of wine and make an amazing meal together!

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