5 Questions for Brendan Collins
Brendan Collins is executive chef of Waterloo & City in Culver City and Larry's in Venice. At Waterloo & City, the British chef — who worked at several prominent restaurants in London, including those of Marco Pierre White, before moving to L.A. — oversees a traditional gastropub featuring house-made charcuterie, small plates such as yellowtail crudo or zucchini blossom fritters, and big plates that include a 30-day dry-aged burger and crispy confit pork shank. Larry's is a beachy hangout at the Hotel Erwin, with plenty of draft beer, pizzas and more pub grub, such as green curry mussels and steak and eggs.
What's coming next on your menu? We are working on a roast chestnut soup with a parsnip and potato hash and foie gras torchon. It is a little bit adventurous for Larry’s, but that's kind of the point we are trying make.
Latest ingredient obsession? Smoked pork jowls from Alan Benton in Tennessee. They get lots of use and love from the kitchen at both Larry’s and Waterloo & City.
Favorite kitchen soundtrack? “Eye of the Tiger” from the Rocky sound track — a proper motivator!
The one piece of kitchen equipment you can't live without, other than your knives? We have many pieces of equipment that we could not function without; however, the best money spent was on our $1,500 meat grinder/sausage maker. My love of charcuterie probably stems from growing up eating offal with my grandparents in England — tongue, tripe, bone marrow, etc. We had so many fresh fruits and vegetables in our backyard to cook with the meats as well, which also adds to the flavors I incorporate into the charcuterie at Larry’s and Waterloo. We’re currently working on a goose and lingonberry pate for Christmas. It's something I had once while I was in Sweden, very Moorish and delicate, and very Yuletide.
What chef has most influenced you? They all — Hebert Berger, Richard Neat, Spencer Patrick, Marco Pierre White, Josiah Citrin — have influenced me in some way, shape or form. I think what's most important is the knowledge they provide you with. Then using this knowledge to motivate yourself to create something unique to yourself and style your kitchen and restaurant in your own vision.
Larry's, 24 Windward Ave., Venice, (310) 399-2700, larrysvenice.com; Waterloo & City, 12517 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 391-4222, www.waterlooandcity.com.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo: Brendan Collins at Larry's. Credit: Dustin Downing.