Kevin Kathman, the new Executive Chef of new American eatery The Larchmont in Larchmont Village, has a pretty spectacular pedigree: after being mentored by Chef Paul “Rocky” LeBrun, he worked as a line cook and baker at LeBrun’s Cipriani’s, Antares, and L’Apogée restaurants, learning classic French cuisine, before heading over to one of Napa Valley’s two three-Michelin starred eateries, The French Laundry. After successfully appealing directly to chef Thomas Keller, Kathman segued his internship into a full-time position just as the fledgling restaurant was developing its worldwide reputation. Remaining in Napa Valley, he became sous chef of Patina Restaurant Group’s Pinot Blanc, managing a staff of 28. He then embarked on a year of advanced culinary education in Europe, staging at various Michelin three-starred restaurants, including Gordon Ramsay in London, Arpège in Paris, and Michel Bras in Laguiole. Returning to the States, he staged at Restaurant Daniel in New York under Chef Daniel Boulud. Eventually, however, he couldn’t resist the lure of California, and returned to run the kitchen at The Larchmont. “From the moment I walked in, I fell in love with the place,” he says, adding that the eatery reminds him of Keller’s Napa institution. In his spare time, the father of two daughters enjoys golf and spending time in Chicago and Minneapolis. Here are his haute secrets to the city he now calls home—Los Angeles.
KEVIN KATHMAN’S HAUTE SECRETS TO LOS ANGELES
Where were you born: I was born and grew up in Cold Spring, MN, where cooking with seasonal, local ingredients was simply part of my lifestyle there. Those early experiences continue to influence my cooking today at The Larchmont.
How long in LA: I have only lived in Los Angeles for 3 years, and worked as a consultant on a wide variety of projects before signing on to run the kitchen at The Larchmont. From the moment I walked in, I fell in love with the place.
Neighborhood: I live in Canyon Country, a community in Santa Clarita.
Occupation:I am the Executive Chef at The Larchmont
Favorite Restaurant: I love Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s Animal as it offers comforting food, while still being adventurous.
Best Sushi:I keep going back to Nobu for its fresh fish and top-grade sushi.
Best Italian:I often dine at Osteria Mamma, which is conveniently across the street from The Larchmont, and has simple, yet authentic dishes.
Best dessert:I love Republic.
Best place for a romantic date:The Larchmont is an amazing romantic date spot as it is intimate and the ambiance feels like a bungalow in the South of France.
Best Sunday brunch:The Larchmont will soon launch brunch, and I have to admit, I think it is the best in the city.
Best place for a power business meeting:I would have to say The Larchmont since it is quiet and intimate, and even has a private, upstairs dining room that people can use for business meetings.
If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend?I would recommend the W Hollywood. It is swanky and pretty centrally located so it is close to some of the top dining spots in LA.
Best Spa: Baliana
Favorite Charity Event: I support Share Our Strength, since it is a cause I really believe in and I hope more people get involved in the fight to end child hunger.
Favorite Cultural Event:I love seeing punk band, Gogol Bordello at The Hollywood Bowl, especially during the summer. The Hollywood Bowl is one of the best venues for concerts and I like to bring in my own food for picnics in the beautiful LA weather.
Favorite Cultural Institution:I would have to say In-N-Out Burger. For a fast food chain, the restaurant manages to serve high quality food that isn’t over processed, and I love there burgers.
Best Steakhouse: CUT is one of my favorite steakhouses. Their Wagyu along with their other cuts of meat are special.
Best Pizza:I love everything that Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo do. Their newest restaurant Jon and Vinny’s has some of the best pizza around.
Best Lunch: Providence is one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles, and their seafood dishes along with their preset menu for lunch are exceptional.
Best Gym/Athletic Facility:I spend most of my time in the kitchen, so I don’t have a favorite athletic facility.
Best Massage: Baliana
Best Limousine/Driving Service: Uber has changed this city’s transportation system for the better.
Best Museum/Exhibitz: I enjoy seeing the art exhibits at LACMA.
Describe your city in three words: Sunny, beautiful, fun
Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: I like to visit the La Brea Tar Pits. I find it peaceful and relaxing to go there when I have a day off.
All-around favorite spot in Los Angeles: know I mentioned this spot a lot, but my favorite all-around spot is Animal for the amazing food and casual atmosphere.
Best Aspect of Los Angeles: You can’t beat LA’s weather.