5 Questions for Angelo Sosa
"Top Chef" alum Angelo Sosa recently opened SmithHouse, a bar and grill with an Asian-inspired menu and craft beers located in Century City. Sosa graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and worked for chefs Christian Bertrand and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. In 2009, he opened his own restaurant Xie Xie in New York. Although he grew up in a Dominican-Italian household in Connecticut, his cooking is influenced by Asian ingredients. You might be surprised by the secret ingredient in his guacamole, for example.
What’s coming up next on your menu? I’m really inspired by the extensive beer list at SmithHouse so I’m going to be playing around a lot with incorporating beer into dishes -- braising in beer, beer noodles, beer bread, a beer burger -- even cooking sous vide with beer.
Latest ingredient obsession? Since much of my cooking has Asian influences, I tend to always be obsessed with ingredients from that part of the world. Most recently I’m enamored with yuzu kosho. It takes guacamole to an entirely new level.
What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again – and what do you order? In L.A. I keep finding myself going back to the Bowery on Sunset. I love their burgers on the English muffins topped with some jalapeno, fried egg and ketchup. In New York, I'm obsessed with Toloache. Their grasshopper tacos are addictive.
The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? Lately I’ve been using my smoking gun on almost everything. It adds a deep, smoky flavor to everything including eggs, pizza, cocktails and ice cream without overpowering the dish.
The last cookbook you read – and what inspired you to pick it up? I just read Alain Ducasse's “Nature” and loved it. To me it was fascinating to see him explore the simpler side of cuisine -- the natural cooking that everyone, even chefs, do with their friends and family. Even though his restaurants reflect the epitome of elevated cuisine, at the end of the day, he’s a lover of food which is simple and emotionally connected to the people he’s with.
SmithHouse, 10351 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 432-4360, www.smithhousela.com.
Photo credit: Jeremy Johnson