5 Questions for Alex Reznik
Alex Reznik is executive chef of La Seine, the California-cuisine-meets-kosher restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard that opened in January. Reznik, a "Top Chef" alum, was born in Ukraine and raised in Brooklyn, a Jewish kid who learned to cook from his mother and grandmother. And now has a thing for huaunzontle.
What's coming next on your menu? It's summertime and very exciting to get some of my old friends back, like black figs. They are just so versatile; you can roast them, caramelize them or just eat them raw. It's stone fruit time -- cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines. I can go on and on. It's a very special time of the year.
Latest ingredient obsession? I am kinda excited about using huaunzontle. It's typically only used in Mexican cuisine. It resembles broccoli but with a thinner branch. It's very tasty.
Describe your favorite day off away from the kitchen. Start at the farmer's market.... Stop at Bay Cities deli and get the Godmother with hot chiles -- it's kinda wonderful. Stop at my house, grab the dog and go for a hike up Runyon. Then nap time. I guess then grab dinner and drinks. I'm currently loving the food at Public at the Roosevelt. I think they are just killing it!
What's the last non-food-related book you read? "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon.
What chef has most influenced you? Without naming names.... When I was just starting out to cook I had no idea what I was doing. I was making just a ton of mistakes –- a ton –- and was getting yelled at a lot by my chef, I mean a lot. I didn't know what to do, then my sous chef gave me some advice. He said, "It's just cooking, man. Don't think, just cook." And that has been my inspiration –- I just cook food, that's it.
La Seine, 14 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 358-0922, www.laseinebg.com.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo credit: Peden + Munk