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5 Questions for Keven Alan Lee

March 19, 2012 |  8:00 am


Chef Keven Alan Lee is executive chef at Sherbourne restaurant in Hollywood. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and studying in Switzerland and the Napa Valley, Lee worked at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego and at Lutèce in Vegas before launching the My World on a Plate catering company. At the Sherbourne, which opened in November, Lee implemented his whipped potato bar concept, where a "spud mixologist" visits tables, offering whipped potatoes and an assortment of toppings. Lee's signature dishes include the Orleans-style BBQ prawns and the savory onion funnel cake with double cream blue fondue.

What’s new on the menu? Tastings paired with cigars, whiskeys, bourbons and wines. And ... escargot caviar ... the new "pearl" of caviar!

Latest ingredient obsession? I have been exploring the diversity of the vanilla bean. I have fallen in love with a company named Tahitian Gold Vanilla, from Madagascar to Tahitian, including pastes, ground powders, fleur de sel, sugars and of course the delicious plump vanilla beans themselves. Some of my favorite dishes I like to prepare are Tahitian vanilla bean bread pudding with white chocolate and coconut; Madagascar vanilla bean tomato marmalade with Tahitian vanilla bean goat cheese panna cotta; 24-hour brined Harris Ranch double-cut pork chop with vanilla thyme anglaise and vanilla fleur de sel. 

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? My vacuum sealer! This is my best friend in the kitchen.... From preserving to sous-vide, this machine can and has worked wonders. Mastering the pressure and cooking times opens so many doors to a world of flavor.

What’s your favorite breakfast? My favorite breakfast is from the time that I lived in Costa Rica. Waking up to the sounds of the ocean crashing and walking into my kitchen for a plate that consisted of freshly boiled beans with thyme and cilantro folded into steamed rice, two over-medium eggs, queso fresco, a piece of salchichon and not to forget, a piece of freshly fried plantain. Then, a traditional coffee setup, pouring freshly ground Costa Rican coffee beans held by a harness with a cup below, and with the other hand, pouring hot water while twisting and turning the sock-like sieve to extract the wonderful flavors of Costa Rica into my cup. Just thinking about it brings me back.

Favorite kitchen soundtrack? For some reason I have gravitated toward "dub step." The industrial sounds and tempos replicate the intensity of the kitchen. 


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-- Jenn Harris

Photo: Chef Keven Alan Lee. Credit: My World on A Plate.