5 Questions for Quinn Hatfield
Quinn Hatfield is the chef and co-owner of Hatfield's in Los Angeles. With his wife, pastry chef Karen Hatfield, he oversees their Melrose Avenue restaurant (and this month celebrated the birth of their second child). Quinn -- once described by Los Angeles Times critic S. Irene Virbila as a "heroic chef standing his ground for fine dining" -- is welcoming spring.
What's coming next on your menu? We are so excited for spring -- even in California, there is a four-to-five-month stretch where you can feel a bit stifled by the limitations of seasonality. My favorite spring go-to's are fava beans, morels, nettles and ramps. Right now I am working on a dish with crispy frog legs, herbed nettle custard and braised white asparagus.
Latest ingredient obsession? Quinoa seems to keep making its way into a lot of things. It is a surprisingly versatile grain and extremely nutritious. We often make it into a creamy "porridge" with mushrooms to pair with duck breast. It's also currently used in our hors d'oeuvres as a creamy Dungeness crab and quinoa salad with black olive crisps.
The one piece of kitchen equipment you can't live without, other than your knives? A stove-top smoker. It's not very glamorous, but we find ourselves using it more and more. We've been smoking fingerling potatoes for our smoked potato purée for years, but, more recently, we have smoked yogurt and mushrooms for dish components. Karen is smoking vanilla beans to infuse in her smoked vanilla ice cream.
Your favorite day off away from the kitchen is ... ? We often meet friends at the Hollywood Farmers Market [on Sundays] for some coffee and shopping. The kids bang the drums to some light reggae, then I take a bike ride up Nichols Canyon. And we end up together with friends and family, somewhere fun with great food.
What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? Like most people, we are very neighborhood-oriented -- and we are lucky enough to have Mozza in our neighborhood. We love to sit at the mozzarella bar and visit with Nancy, David and Matt. The food and service still impress every time.
Hatfield's, 6703 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 935-2977; www.hatfieldsrestaurant.com.
Photo: Quinn Hatfield. Credit: Todd Porter and Diane Cu