5 Questions for Roxana Jullapat
Roxana Jullapat is the pastry chef at Ammo restaurant in Los Angeles, where she's currently making spring-y desserts such as cream biscuit with creme fraiche and Gaviota strawberries; warm bunuelos with ricotta, strawberry-rhubarb jam and strawberry ice cream; and Meyer lemon pop tart with huckleberries, citron confit and Meyer lemon ice cream. Just don't touch her wooden spoons....
What’s coming up next on your menu? Apricots and cherries. I'm giddy with anticipation. It happens to me every year.
Latest ingredient obsession? For the last month, I've been playing with orange blossoms. The guys from local grower Bernard Ranches trim a few off the trees and bring a few baskets to the farmers market. I wrap them into a bundle with cheesecloth and add them when I'm making strawberry jam. I love what the infusion of the bitter blossoms does to the jam. Strawberries and orange blossoms only coincide for a few weeks out of the year, which makes this jam even more special.
The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? Wooden spoons. I'm very protective of the ones I own. I have two favorites: One is long and worn out and I like to use it to stir preserves; the other one is short and sturdy, perfect to stir hot caramel concoctions. I don't let any of the cooks use them to prepare anything with garlic or onions.
What's your favorite breakfast? French press coffee with two slices of toasted very dark bread (this morning it was pumpernickel) smeared with cream cheese. When I'm not watching the calories I might add a spoonful of homemade jam.
What chef has most influenced you? This is the one question I can answer without hesitation: Nancy Silverton and her former right-hand, Kim Boyce, who is now a cookbook author in her own right. I sucked every bit of information I could while I worked with them at Campanile and La Brea Bakery from 2000 to 2002. As I've trained many young pastry cooks through the years, I've found myself quoting Nancy and Kim again and again.
Ammo, 1155 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 871-2666; www.ammocafe.com.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo credit: Anthony Rich
[Updated April 18, 10:35 a.m.: An earlier version of this post misspelled Jullapat.]