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Larry Monaco

An Orange County, CA native, Chef Larry Monaco has over two decades of culinary experience cooking for a multitude of high-end, reputable kitchens. Most recently the Executive Chef/Task Force Chef for the Viceroy Hotel Group, Monaco also served as the chef consultant for Neal Fraser and Cedd Moses opening the new Fritzi DTLA and Arts District Brewing Company, and has captained the kitchens at Nordstrom in Seattle, Hotel MdR in Marina del Rey and Hotel Erwin in Venice.

Additionally, he has spent time cooking in Seattle at Boka Restaurant & Bar, Hotel 1000 and Veil, The Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica, Blue Palms Lounge in Hollywood and at Chef Danny Meyer’s renowned Gramercy Tavern in New York.

An advocate of volunteer work in his field, Monaco designed the curriculum for the culinary job training program, Farestart in Seattle.

Chef Larry’s Mission & Philoshopy


To make each and every experience unforgettable. To offer exquisite service, to create a memorable atmosphere and to stimulate the senses. To use the freshest, local ingredients and technique to develop flavor while keeping costs in line.

To cultivate an atmosphere of hands on learning and curiosity to inspire my team and colleagues to be proud of our food and accomplishments.

To take pride in attention to detail and leaving a lasting impression to delight each customer.

He also appeared in these shows


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Brendan Collins

At the age of 15, Brendan Collins quit secondary school to follow his dream and enroll in culinary school, where he was classically trained in French technique. By 17, the talented Nottingham native had his first job at London’s Le Gavroche, a Michelin two-star restaurant. He continued to hone his skills at several of London’s finest gastronomic temples, including The Café Royal, The Heights, and Pied et Terre. Collins took on his first executive chef position at The Calls Grill in Leeds. Under his leadership, the fledgling dining room received the prestigious Michelin Bib Gourmand in 1999. Shortly thereafter, Collins returned to London to serve as sous chef at Oxo Tower Restaurant before accepting the position as sous for celebrity chef Marco Pierre White at Quo Vadis where Collins would garner one Michelin Star and earn a reputation as one of London’s rising culinary stars. In 2002, at the behest of celebrated chef Josiah Citrin, Collins moved to Los Angeles to work as chef de cuisine at Citrin’s Melisse Restaurant. Collins spent four years at Melisse in Santa Monica, which earned the Mobile Four Star Rating each year and became one of California’s first Michenlin two-star rated dining destinations during his tenure. Collins left Melisse to open and serve as executive chef at Mesa in Orange County. The restaurant enjoyed great critical and popular success with him at the helm. Collins then returned to Santa Monica to open Anisette with Alain Giraud, but soon after, he was lured away by an offer to become executive chef of The Hall at Palihouse, where he would solidify his unique culinary style, gain a fan following, and win critical acclaim. Today, Collins is the Executive Chef and Proprietor at Waterloo & City in Culver City, California. Drawing on his training in butchery and belief in using the whole animal, Collins is dedicated to using only the best ingredients and cooking food that he likes to eat. He combines impeccable French He combines impeccable French technique, seasonal California ingredients, and his inimitable”British lad” attitude to create a cuisine that is at once comforting and exciting, while maintaining a relaxed, English pub atmosphere.

On Japanese Knives

I think the beauty of Japanese knives is quite appealing.There is so much rich history behind the art of Japanese knife making and they do it far better than anybody else. The way the knives are designed, the hardness of the steel, and the general balance and beauty makes them the perfect knives for professional chefs. The fact that in general Japanese knives have great edge retention and are quite easy to maintain is something I can appreciate as a chef. When I first started cooking German knives were very popular. It wasn’t till later on in my career that I was first exposed to Japanese knives. Moving to America and specifically to Los Angeles gave me a lot more access to Japanese knives. My love of Japanese knives began when I bought my first Japanese knife and the great experience I had using them. I became hooked on them from that moment and I bought several ever since. In fact my entire knife kit is Japanese knives. Starting out my knives were always double-edged but as soon as I learned the beauty of single edged knives, I even started turning my double edged knives into single edged knives. I generally go towards western style Japanese knives because I prefer the handles, there is something about the comfortability of the handles that I still prefer to this day. I’m not a big fan of having a kit full of knives. I tend to have four Japanese knives I use consistently, a 12” chef’s knife, an excellent boning knife, a phenomenally sharp slicing knife, and just to finish it all off I have a paring knife. With those four knives you can pretty much take care of any dish or preparation that you need to do. If you are able to invest in the top quality of those four different knives in your knife kit, whether you’re doing fine dining or café food you will be able to execute any preparation with ease and precision. I think in general there is a technique that has to be adhered to in any cooking whether you cooking gastro pub food or fine dining cuisine. The fact of the matter is that if you want profitability and you want an exceptionally good cut whether it is meat, vegetables, or fish then you must have an excellent quality knife. With the amount of experience I have and the profound love I have for this industry, knives play a huge role and Japanese knives happen to be my knife of choice.

On Beginnings

I knew from a very young age, since I was 11years old that I was going to be a chef. My parents owned and operated pubs back in England and I always gravitated to the kitchens in the back. I knew from an early age how important good food and cooking was. My grandfather was as old school as old school gets, he had his own green house, orchard, and chickens and pigeons which helped me appreciate the difference in quality in ingredients. Food was always in my life and I always wanted to be in it. After graduating from cooking school at 17 I moved to straight to London, I began working at Michelin Star rated Restaurants, including Gavroche and Café Royale. My ten years of cooking in England were all at Michelin Star rated restaurants, after which I moved to Melisse in Santa Monica as the chef de Cuisine for 4 years. While I was there Michelin had decided to come to Los Angeles and Melisse was one of the first restaurants to be awarded 2 Michelin Stars on the West Coast. Michelin has always been my background but I wanted to cook food that had Michelin standards and was still affordable. My idea was to open up a gastro pub with a relaxed and joyous atmosphere where you can eat really excellent cuisine or you could just go and get a pint and a pot pie if that’s what you so choose.

On Inspiration

I look to past, present, and future when I’m cooking. A lot of is instinct, when you have enough experience a lot of food comes from instinct, and the majority of it comes from mother nature and the change of seasons, after which it is the result of a lot of refining and technique. We have had a dish, a peach and burrata salad that has been on the menu and every year it takes on a new form as it evolves from season to season. I have also started running my kitchens differently in that I utilize my team to collaborate on developing dishes. We will sit down and do tastings and decide on what’s working and what’s not working and in that way you bring the creativity of an entire team rather than the creativity of one person. I find that we can refine dishes more efficiently and achieve more consistency because everyone is involved and that also brings out the confidence of the entire team. I feel that some dishes are more of a team effort and I also like to put a European style into what I do because I am a European trained chef and thankfully it has all worked out very well.

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James Avery

On Japanese Knives

In Japanese cuisine each knife has a very specific purpose. Utilizing those specific knives gives you the means to execute and fulfill the intention and vision you have for a particular preparation. I may use 3 different knives on 1 ingredient to achieve the results that I am looking for. As a chef I am drawn to the minimalist aesthetic of Japanese cuisine and the emphasis they place on quality ingredients and mastery of technique. Japanese knives are really just an extension of that mindset. If I had to choose my favorite knife it would be my Inox 300mm Sujihiki because I do most of the butchering and portioningwith it. I couldn’t work without it but choosing one over the other is like asking a parent which child is their favorite. In my opinion it gets to a point when your knives and all your tools literally become part of you. The more I learn the more “souvenirs” I pick up. It sounds cheesy but my knives are a visual representation of my journey.

On Being a Chef


After cooking for over 15 years I don’t have a romantic or poetic story about how or why I became a chef. I just thought it was a cool job and that it would be fun, but there is always something to be learned in a kitchen. I learn something new every day, but I’m really surprised at the things I forget and have to learn all over again. The thrill and challenge of it all is actually what keeps me coming back every day.

My advice for people starting out is to get a job working as a dishwasher, a prep cook, or a line cook. Be sure it’s something you really want to do. It’s a lot of hard work and it’s important that you understand that before rushing off to culinary school.

On Cuisine


It’s important for me to pave my own path. I tend to favor lighter cooking techniques such as grillingand flavoring with lighter components, using vinaigrettes instead of heavy sauces. I can’t overemphasize the importance of seasoning, not just with salt, but with heat and acid. The hardest thing to do when creating a new dish is not over thinking it. It has to be delicious if anyone is going to love it.

I try to live a healthy life style because I want to live a long productive life. I exercise a lot and I try to eat healthy and that shows in my food. If I had to pick a favorite dish it would be roast chicken, I know it sounds cliché, but it’s so good when it’s done right.

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Sam Nutter & Victor Wagman


Bror is Danish for brother and the name of this restaurant in Copenhagen is embodied in the partnership of the two chefs who are at its helm. Sam Nutter and Victor Wagman started Bror after their years of friendship led them from the Vineyard at Stockross in England to being alums of Noma in Denmark. They continue to define themselves through the terroir of Scandinavia.

Japanese Knives

I love the respect that the Japanese have for their knives and the care they take in keeping them sharp. I think the rest of the world aspires to be like a Japanese chef when it comes to the respect they extend toward their knives. I use the Japanese knives that I received as a going away present from Noma.

Beginnings

I’m originally from England and when I was 13 years old I was chopping wood for a farmer in front of his wife’s café. When the waitress called in sick, I got asked to help in the kitchen and it all went from there. I worked in a couple of local pubs before I moved down south to work at the Vineyard at Stockross, which is where I met Victor. Victor went to Noma before I did,and because of the great experience that he was having there, he recommended that I do the same. We both worked at Noma for a number of years, He was a product Sous Chef and I was a Sous Chef in the test kitchen. I think it is definitely embedded in our style even as we try to cultivate something all our own. I would say that it became a part out of us and we became a part of it. Chef Rene Redzepi’s philosophy about food is amazing. He is constantly reinventing Noma all the time and he keeps coming up with these new amazing creations. I think Noma exemplifies simplicity which allows the ingredients to speak for themselves in a way that is natural and restrained. Chef Rene has been super helpful since we have opened, so I couldn’t ask or anymore

Creativity

I think creativity is a mix of everything. There is a lot of competition in Copenhagen and throughout the world, so it’s nice to be a little different and do things that you think are delicious. We believe in cooking food that we would enjoy eating and we try to please our guests. We want to have as much fun as possible when we are creating dishes. We want to come up with things that people will find interesting and sometimes challenging. I love working with seafood and I especially like squid, which is quite versatile. One of our philosophies is that we use everything from head to toe. If it’s a whole fish we are using everything from the heads to the cod sperm. We do a 3 course lamb’s head serving where we whip the brain, stuff the eyeballs, and wrap the tongue and cheeks in a pancake. Even though it can be quite a challenge for some people, I think most people have kind of enjoyed it so far.

Our Place

We want Bror to be a place that you can relax and feel comfortable. We have a 4 course menu and I think we need our customers to feel sated. We work with a lot of purveyors from Denmark and Sweden and we also try to forage with the small team we have. Our food is quite comforting in some traditional aspects and there is an emphasis on the richness of our food as opposed to it being very light. Over the last year we have been using weird and wonderful ingredients thatpeople may have never had before. In fact the most commonly chosen item to order on the menu has been the bull’s testicles.

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Steven Gebhardt

Humble Beginnings

Chef Steven Gebhardt’s introduction to the culinary world was a fluke. During a summer job as a dish washer in a restaurant, he fell in love with cooking. As he describes it “cooking became my life”. After Culinary School, Chef Gebhardt made his way around the North East developing his skills in various cuisines from French to Japanese, landing at the famed Tibute under Chef Don Yamauchi.

French Cuisine and Japanese Knives


Whether it’s French cuisine or Japanese cuisine, in the end you are still using the knife to cut food-be it a cucumber, filet of fish, a terrine, etc. There are some projects that I will only use my Japanese single edge knives on and there are some that I will only use my double edge. Raw fish will only see the shine of my Deba and Kiritsuke knives, while any meat will be seeing my double edge knives. It all depends on what you are comfortable using.

On Japanese Knives


I think the first thing is the sheer beauty that draws me to them. The way the blade curves, the shine of the steel, the simplicity of the handle all have me wanting more. The second thing is the strength of the steel. They are the most sharp knives out there. If you give them a bit of love every day, they will return it tenfold. I love single –edged Japanese knives. I have a Deba that I use to butcher whole fish. I also have a kiritsuke that I use on boneless fish, and I also have a usuba that I use for all vegetables.

On His Favorite Dish

Gołąbki. Hands down. It is a Polish dish that my Grandmother used to always make. It is cabbage leaves stuffed with beef, onions and rice stewed in tomatoes and bacon for a better part of the day. Comfort food at its finest.

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Betty Fraser

As Executive Chef and Co-owner of Grub in Los Angeles, Betty Fraser has established the Mecca of “California Comfort Food”, garnering praise since opening in 2001. Betty’s energy and enthusiasm might be best known from being a favorite on the second season of Bravo’s Top Chef and for her return appearances on Top Chef Masters.

On Japanese Knives

Japanese knives have a sleekness about them that really catches the eye. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they have a sharper edge that allows for cleaner cuts. They are made from old traditions that have transcended time. Japanese cuisine focuses on the simplicity and elegance of the ingredients themselves. Many other cuisines work on melding flavors and blending new ingredients to create something that is surprising and unique to your palate. Japanese cuisine celebrates the singularity of a gorgeous piece of toro or a simple enoki mushroom. That simplicity of functionality is reflected in their knives. It is their truth of substance that is the beauty of a wonderful piece of equipment that a chef has in their arsenal. Every day I go into my kitchen and the first thing I grab is my knife roll, I open it up and I examine my knives. I care for them and in turn they make my job a joy to perform. They make it possible for me to create.

On Being a Chef

It was the element of creativity that really drew me to beIng a chef. The act of creating something wonderful out of a few simple ingredients…it was magical and I loved it. I have been working in the restaurant business for over 30 years. I remember my first restaurant job, as I stood in the middle of the kitchen a voice inside me spoke, “this is home”. It’s not always an easy profession, but it is ALWAYS rewarding in countless ways. I feel very lucky to do what I do. In my life, if I’m not having a good time, I need to rethink my what I am doing because It is too short not to enjoy it. I love coming in and creating and I try to have fun as I stay focused. The excitement of feeding 500 people food that I made is truly thrilling.

The Culinary Landscape

As a woman I am very proud to be in this field. The landscape is changing and we are seeing more and more talented women becoming Executive Chefs. It truly is an amazing profession. It requires talent, focus, and drive, and when it is done right it is creative and sexy. This is a job that is a true extension of yourself.

I recently came back from Spain, Italy and France. I was on fire with inspiration to create the dishes and flavors I had experienced. I love all kinds of cuisines, especially “the how and why” that make a dish so instrumental to a particular country. Is it the ingredients and traditions that forge a cuisine, or is a part of religion or necessity? Every country has their very own “comfort food”. At Grub we do our version of Comfort Food from our lives. We love when our customers come in and enjoy what we have created, it is why I became a chef.

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Michael Costa

Michael Costa is Head Chef of Zaytinya, José Andrés’ award-winning restaurant in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, DC. Zaytinya specializes in mezze, “little dishes” that draw on the flavors of Greece, Turkey and Lebanon. Prior to joining José’s team, Michael was executive chef at Pazo, the Foreman Wolf Restaurant Group’s small plates restaurant in Baltimore. Under his direction, Pazo received a 3 ½ star review from the Baltimore Sun and earned a 3 Star rating the Mobile Travel Guide. With more than twelve years experience, Michael has cooked in several top kitchens, including turns at the Michelin-starred Restaurant Michel Rostang in Paris, France and Michel Richard’s Citronelle in Washington, DC where he served as private dining chef. In 2010 he was nominated “Chef of the Year” by the Maryland Restaurant Association for his work at Pazo. In 2009, he won “Best Wine Pairing” at the “A Taste of Elegance” event in Baltimore. Michael cooked at the James Beard House in 2009 presenting “An Exploration of Catalan Cooking, Traditional and Modern”. Costa holds an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science, Culinary Arts, from El Centro College in Dallas, Texas, where he studied under the culinary school’s Greek founder Costas “Gus” Katsigris. He began his career in Dallas working at Chef Kent Rathbun’s restaurant Abacus. Before devoting himself to the restaurant business, Costa attended the University of Virginia where he graduated with a degree in Government and Foreign Affairs.


The great knives compel you to use them. They feel like an extension of your hand. My favorite knife right now is a beautiful custom left-handed Hongasumi Takobiki from Yoshihiro. Many Japanese knife makers do not even make left handed knives, let alone make them well. I have often found myself spending hours correcting issues with uneven bevels. This knife was accurately ground and shaped right out of the box. The fit and finish are impeccable from the gorgeous handle to the beautifully rounded choil and spine. All of that is wonderful to look at and to feel but the reason that it is my favorite is how the food that I slice with it looks on the plate. It cuts and releases as cleanly as anything I have ever used.

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Maison Giraud

“In France eating out is like going out on an adventure, where people savor the chance to come together and eat and enjoy a bottle of wine”. -Chef Alain Giraud’s decades of experience in French cuisine, from the Michelin starred institutions of Paris to the bastions of California French are captured in the spirit of Maison Giraud of Pacific Palisades.

Japanese Knives

I was from a generation in France where you had the choice of either French knives or German knives. My first knife was a French paring knife. My dad was a chef and in his kitchen there was no shortage of knives of all varieties. I have a beautiful sushi knife that was given to me as a gift by Chef Michel Richard. I was his Chef de Cuisine for 8 years at Citrus. I staged for a couple of weeks before I accepted the job and I refused to let him pay me. He wanted to do something special for me and as a gift he bought a traditional Japanese sushi knife that I keep as a keepsake. Japanese knives are very well balanced. I think Japanese knives have such an aesthetic quality. They are excessively sharp and it is a pleasure to touch them.

Beginnings

I was born into the restaurant business. My parents ran an Inn in the center of France, and I passed most of my time with my 2 grandmothers. I had one grandmother from Provence who lived in the city and my other grandmother was from the countryside of central France. I think the food that my grandmothers cooked was the real three star cuisine. Their cooking was about bringing a sense of pleasure and tradition to the table. My grandmother from the country had a farmhouse where they had chickens, rabbits, and pigs. When I was young I had the best time fishing and catching crayfish. It was truly a gift from nature to be able to go back home with all that fresh food and make a meal. I used to pick berries and eat them for dessert. The connection with the ingredients really made you appreciate and love the food you were cooking.

French Cuisine

French food in its essence comes from the terroir of France. The size of France and the different regions it encompasses accentuates the diversity of French food. In France eating out is like going out on an adventure, where the people savor the chance to come together and eat and enjoy a bottle of wine. That is what I try to bring to Maison Giraud. In California we have our own terroir and that is why I always bring a bounty of fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market in Santa Monica. I believe that If you serve something comforting like a duck confit, you have do it right. When you make the skin crisp, balance it with a tangy sauce, and garnish it with fresh vegetables it is really a good achievement in its simplicity. When I was working with Michel Richard at Citrus the emphasis was on bringing out the true taste of the ingredient. If you made a parsley sauce than the sauce should really taste like parsley. Oftentimes I come back to focusing on the simplicity of cooking. It is easy to lose the essence of flavor if you are adding too many things. If you want to maximize and really accentuate the flavor of an ingredient, I think 2 or 3 elements are perfect, but when you are mixing together over 20 flavors in a dish it can result in cacophony. When the chefs of Spain came to prominence a lot of French chefs scoffed, but it woke them up and now we are coming back. I believe that because French cooking is so fundamentally based on terroir and tradition that it will survive any trend or cuisine of the moment.

There has to be a balance between the modernist cuisine of today and the fundamental techniques that are based on time tested traditions. The innovations that were introduced by Ferran Adria were a result of the new tools and chemicals that were developed and introduced into the kitchen. The new technology allows us to do things much easier than we used to. Can you imagine cooking without the new generation of high powered blenders? I think it’s good to incorporate new techniques. For instance look at the amazing things that can be done with sous vide. When foam started popping up everywhere as the new trend it was considered so modern. But we were already doing foam at the the Hotel De Crillon in the 80’s. It was considered a really big thing back then. Every station had a hand blender and we would blend the cream sauce to make a light and bubbly foam. If you take a beautiful pistachio sauce and blend it so that it becomes lighter, there is something rather interesting about it. However, if you are just making a foam to make a foam, that is where I think we have to be very careful when the technique starts to overpower the essence of the flavor. The flavor is the key. When a painter or a musician has mastered the basics, they can branch off into more abstract directions. Nevertheless, without a solid foundation the modern techniques can become a shortcut. At the end of the day if it is good than it is good. Maybe it’s my age but I’m a big believer in taste. When I was a young cook nouvelle cuisine was the new big thing in France. It comes down to the new experiences that every generation will encounter as times change. It is nice to see new things and new movements, when it’s too classic it can become boring.

Advice

My advice to people who are starting out in the industry is that the shows on television can be beautiful and inspiring, but the reality is long hours of hard work. Only a few can be lucky enough to have a restaurant. When I interview a young cook and ask them why they are getting into the industry, it’s rarely because they love to cook. It can be frustrating when you are first starting out. There is a lot of stress and repetition, but slowly you are building up your skill set and when you look back on what you have done there is a great sense of achievement. It is important for a young cook to understand that fame and fortune is not what this life is about. The reality is that you are working weekends and holidays, getting off of work late and coming back the next day early in the morning.

After I graduated from culinary school my dad insisted that I work at the best restaurant possible. Where I was from there was a restaurant that had 2 Michelin stars. I was lucky to have someone like him to advise me because I would have missed out on an amazing formation of my knife skills, butchering, and understanding of all the aspects of the business..

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Ei Hiroshi

Profile

Ei Hiroyoshi is a head chef at the Beverly Hills location of Sasabune. Before taking up this post, he spent over a dozen years developing his craft under the famed Sushi Chef Nobi Kusuhara, the founder of Sasabune. In Los Angeles the number of sushi bars is in the range of hundreds, but Sasabune is counted among the select few that LA residents would speak of when discussing restaurants where sushi could be experienced as an art form. The words an artist uses when talking about the instruments that they create with are infused with personality, character, and life. We talked to Ei Hiroyoshi, a veteran sushi chef with over a dozen years of experience working countless days with his instrument. A craftsman forged the piece of metal that became the knife that Chef Hiroyoshi uses at his sushi counter. Chef Hiroyoshi continues the forging process, but not of the kind that requires a furnace. His is of a symbiotic relationship that comes to shape over a long period of time. The craftsmen have elevated a piece of metal to a knife. Chef Hiroyoshi has further elevated it to an instrument of creativity.

Passion on the Art of Knives

In my opinion, the passion and heart of the chef is reflected in every cut that he makes. It’s about the thrill of the moment. You don’t get to take back a cut once it is made. You only get one chance to cut the ingredient in such a way that best makes use of it, or else it is ruined. This is especially true in sushi. It is challenging but also satisfying. For example, when fileting halibut you aim exactly in between the center bone and the flesh and it’s quite hard to get it right every time, but when you get it exactly right you can hear the sound of the blade gliding over the bone and for me it’s thrilling to hear and feel that through the knife.

Chef Knife Maintainance

I believe that the way in which a chef goes about taking care of his knives is a reflection of his character. The love a chef displays toward his knives is a measure of the love he feels for his cuisine. I’m a believer in sharpening your own knives. It’ll take some time and effort to learn the skill but I find a lot of value in the process. I myself encourage my own staff to do the same. One other thing I do is to rotate my knives in order to minimize the wear and tear that each knife receives over a period of time.

SASABUNE BEVERLY HILLS 9162 W Olympic Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (310) 859-3878