ANGE December, 2012 : Page 142

142 | Angeleno | December 2012 food drink | people Modern Masters Four L.A. food scene visionaries dish on how their fine arts degrees prepped them to make masterpieces in more delicious mediums. | By Jessica Ritz | | Photography by Andrew Stiles | Working with food involves science and creativity, but is it art? For certain chefs and industry professionals, this question has a deeper resonance. Here are four Los Angeles craftspeople with fine arts training whose newest concepts take on edible forms. Justin Pike Bar Manager / The Tasting Kitchen While precision and care of craft are obviously front of mind for those straddling the worlds of visual art and food and drink, bartender Justin Pike sees other, more nuanced similarities. He emphasizes the process continued… over the medium. IN THE MIX Justin Pike of The Tasting Kitchen in Venice attended art school before he started tending bar. His work can often be seen on the restaurant chalkboards.

Food Drink People

Jessica Ritz

Modern Masters

Four L.A. food scene visionaries dish on how their fine arts degrees prepped them to make masterpieces in more delicious mediums.

Working with food involves science and creativity, but is it art? For certain chefs and industry professionals, this question has a deeper resonance. Here are four Los Angeles craftspeople with fine arts training whose newest concepts take on edible forms.

Justin Pike
Bar Manager / The Tasting Kitchen

While precision and care of craft are obviously front of mind for those straddling the worlds of visual art and food and drink, bartender Justin Pike sees other, more nuanced similarities. He emphasizes the process over the medium. “Awareness, consciousness and having a connection to what you’re making” are very important, says Pike, whether the medium is oil paint or spirits and bitters. His interest in cocktails began in Boston (he was attending Massachusetts College of Art and Design at the time) and continued to evolve when he moved West. In Portland, Pike met chef Casey Lane, who recruited him to run the cocktail program at Th e Tasting Kitchen in Venice. When it comes to his first love, Pike says finding the time to paint is always a challenge, but worth the effort. “I definitely think there’s a lot of similarity [between art and mixology],” he says. “Th e creative aspect, putting things together. Th at’s the obvious connection.” 1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310.392.6644, thetastingkitchen.com

Kris Yenbamroong
Chef/owner / Night + Market

Tisch School of the Arts at NYU grad Kris Yenbamroong points to the “less tangible things in film” that have shaped his approach to the regional Th ai street food he serves at Night + Market on the Sunset Strip. After earning his BFA in film, Yenbamroong spent four years working for renowned photographer and filmmaker Richard Kern in New York City. Now executing his own creative vision, Yenbamroong incorporates his flair for storytelling into every last detail at Night + Market, displaying his own photographs throughout the restaurant and projecting handpicked films onto a large blank wall in the dining room. “I’m always trying to figure things out in terms of a story and a context.” 9041 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310. 275.9724, nightmarketla.com

Yeekai Lim
Founder/barista / Cognoscenti Coffee

The similarities between brewing a cup of coffee and designing a building don’t cross most people’s minds. But Columbia University-trained architect and barista Yeekai Lim can’t help but think about the ways the two intersect and diverge. Lim is particularly interested in the differing role of technology in his chosen fields. “Very few would challenge that CAD has positively changed the way architects and designers work,” Lim explains. Yet a highly automated coffee apparatus is “seldom seen in cafés that have a high focus on quality, for the fundamental reason that it can’t adjust to human senses, like sight, sound and taste.” After Cognoscenti Coffee pop-ups in Burbank and Eagle Rock and a permanent location at Proof Bakery in Atwater Village, Lim opened a shop in Culver City and one at the offices of his downtown architectural firm, miL Studio. The Culver City space, which he designed, is on the ground floor of Clive Wilkinson Architects’ new offices, and should lead to some interesting conversations. 6114 Washington Blvd., Culver City, popupcoffee.com

Shiho Yoshikawa
Ice cream chef / Sweet Rose Creamery

Ice cream chef Shiho Yoshikawa of Sweet Rose Creamery in the Brentwood Country Mart makes some of the same decisions whether she’s making dessert or art. “When I pick fruit, I’m drawn to the colors and the beauty of the shapes,” she explains. Before crafting the perfect scoop from scratch, Yoshikawa baked at Tartine in San Francisco and honed her pastry skills in other celebrated kitchens, including the Slanted Door. After graduating from the California College of the Arts in Oakland, where her major combined film, video and sculpture, she eventually took culinary and baking classes. Yoshikawa says the skills she developed working with art materials prepped her quite well for her current gig. 225 26th St., #51, Santa Monica, 310.260.2663, sweetrosecreamery.com

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/Food+Drink+People/1241474/135815/article.html.

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