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5 Questions for Dakota Weiss

May 2, 2011 |  8:00 am

Dakota Dakota Weiss is the new executive chef at NineThirty at the W Hotel in Westwood. She was formerly chef at the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica and the Sunset Tower's Tower Bar on the Sunset Strip. NineThirty's menu reflects her take on New American cooking -- lobster and brie sliders, carrot soup with sweet pea pesto and argan oil, chile roasted eggplant crepes....  

What's coming up next on your menu? It feels like summer already, and I want to put everything on the grill! I'm working on a grilled tangerine and white asparagus "tartare" with honey-lavender gastrique, poached quail egg and golden caviar.

Favorite kitchen soundtrack? Lately we have been listening to (or I should say my cooks put up with …) Queens of the Stone Age, Stateless, and I am pretty sure my food comes out much better when I am belting out a Silversun Pickups tune.

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? Soowon Galbi Korean BBQ. I love everything here but always get the mixed meat platter with extra pork belly, plenty of soju and Hite beer to wash it down! I also love the Little Next Door because I can bring my puppy, Chaplin, with me. ... We love the foie gras torchon and socca fries. They also have an amazing wine list that is filled with a ton of varietals that you don't see too often.

The last cookbook you read –- and what inspired you to pick it up? Well, I had to practically take out a loan from the bank to buy it … but I just got "Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Food." I love to read about the "how's and why's." It has everything from ingredients, history and the muscle movements of animals. Anyone who has a passion for food should get it.

What chef has most influenced you? Bruno Menard was definitely the chef who turned my culinary world upside down. He taught me how to refine the simplest of ingredients, how to enhance flavors without losing what it should taste like. He also had such a wonderful sense of plating. His dishes were not only delicious but absolute pleasure to the eyes as well. Each dish was like a piece of fine art that should be in a museum.

NineThirty, W Los Angeles-Westwood, 930 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 443-8211, www.ninethirtyw.com. 

Photo credit: W Los Angeles-Westwood