Chefs@Google: Josiah Citrin

Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 22.02.2012

>>Male Presenter: So hi everyone. We're here, I mentioned at the last All Hands that we're
gonna have Josiah Citrin come out and visit. And that he's a nice guy. That we'd talked.
He was going to give us an actual demo which I think is a very special treat and I also
pointed out he was arguably the best chef in Los Angeles. I've eaten at his restaurant.
If you haven't, Melisse. It's really worth going to and checking out.
He's also got some really interesting, I've learned more from looking at the internet
some really interesting concepts on food. He's gone through a very interesting evolution
personally in his life. And hopefully will share some of those experiences and answer
some questions.
I'll point out three things. He was one of the first chef-owners to win a, two Michelin
stars. There's four of those restaurants in Los Angeles. And Melisse was one of the very
early ones. He lives local to Google LA here in Venice. So if you wanna stop over for lunch.
You might wanna give it a shot.
And he's a surfer. So I know we've got some surfers here too. So if you have surfing related
questions or tips you want. Here's the guy to ask.
And he's been, they've been very generous in providing us books. Which is the author
"In Pursuit of Excellence." They're in the back. And there's actually a great, I'm not
going to give a more detailed intro. 'Cause there's a really great intro of you in here.
And some interesting pictures. Including surfing pictures. Which I think is awesome.
So thanks so much for joining us.
>>Josiah: It's a pleasure to be here. Alright.
>>Male Presenter: Josiah
>>Josiah: Welcome. Thank you all.
>>Josiah: OK, so, as Tom said I'm from, I was born and Raised in Santa Monica. They
said there's no native Californians or LA-ans, LAngelinos. I am one. I grew up here surfing
out in Santa Monica. My mom was a chef. Not a chef like I am per se. But she had a cooking
school actually in Santa Monica. Where the Santa Monica Place is. It's a new, old, new
mall. So she had a cooking school there. It was called the Southern California School
of Fine Cuisine. Most of the time she taught, at that time was mostly rich executives' wives
how to cook. She had a great palate. A lot of different interesting cultural foods. So
I grew up with this amazing food in the house. The good thing now is if I said at eight years
old, I knew I wanted to be a chef. But that's not true. I just wanted to surf. So I would
peel some carrots here and there. And try to make little couple bucks so I can go on
surf trips. But then when I was 17 and I was you know, time to go to college or wondering
what I'm gonna do.
I decided you know, I wanna be a chef. It's kinda when Wolfgang Puck was getting known.
1986. At that time it wasn't like now obviously. We didn't have Google. So we couldn't check
everything out and see. And there wasn't, this raft of information. So at that time,
its' the beginning of the celebrity chef. So I went around to five different chefs.
And I asked them "What should I do? Should I move to France? Should I work? Should I
go to school?" 'Cause my dad being French, I have papers to go work in France. And four
out of the five chefs recommended that I just start working.
So I got a job at a restaurant that was called, uh, the first job was at The Wave. Which was
right down the street here. It just, a new restaurant just opened there. So it's on Ashton
and Main. Used to be 20, uh, 2020 or 20, I don't know, Royal Café. Just turned over.
Found my first job. It lasted for like a month and a half. And then they were going out of
business so they let everybody go.
So then I went to the West Beach Café. I don't know if anybody remembers the West Beach
Café. It was Bruce Marder. Who had Capo. He had the Broadway Deli. The Chorus Café
maybe. You know? So I went to work there for six months. And you know, I kinda got addicted
to the chaos of the kitchen. The adrenalin rush. And I was enjoying it. I had a girlfriend
who I had been dating in high school. She wasn't enjoying it. I was working too many
nights. She dumped me. And from there I decided to move to France. So I moved to France and
I lived there three years.
And it was a really a wonderful experience. Culturally. Learning about cheese. Wine. Food.
I mean. At that time in America we didn't have these farmer's markets. We didn't have
all this available fresh produce. And fresh seafood. It wasn't the same. It's not, we've
come a long way in the 26 years that I've been doing this. So I moved to France. And
just learned all about that. Worked there for three years. And after three years it
got to the point where it was kind of like "Well, should I move back to California? Should
I stay in France?" kind of like, what am I gonna do? I had to kinda start developing
my life. I wanted to have a bed and TV. Anyway, so I moved back to LA
And I got a job at Shin-La on Main. Then I came back to work for Wolfgang Puck. And it's
a great experience. I learned a lot. And I wanted to, you know, France at that time there
was no influence of Asian products. It was all French. And we maybe a hint of ginger.
Besides that they didn't use anything in the French cuisine. So I really wanted to learn
about different ingredients from different parts of the world and how to introduce that
into French style cuisine. So that was a great experience at Shin-La on Main.
From there I went on to work at Bettina. So Bettina is a great restaurant. At that time
it was, Joaquim only had Bettina. There was no Pino Bistro or Bettina Group. So it was
really hands on and he really taught me a lot about running a business or what it meant.
So from there I felt like I was ready to go on my own. Become a chef. So I actually got
a job with my friend Raphael. And, Capri, is where we had our first job. Which is now
that wolf in sheep's clothing. It's kind of hot right now. So they did, the guys that
are doing that actually did what we did in 1993. We went in there and kinda took over
the restaurant. From there we got a job in Jackson's Restaurant. Which was on Beverly
Boulevard. Restaurants come and go. It's hard in LA. These are all, you know. Can't remember
them all. And then from there Raphael Manetta from JiRaffe. And myself. We opened JiRaffe
restaurant. Anybody know JiRaffe restaurant? So that's why it's a J-i-capital R. It's for
Josiah and Rafael. OK.
So we grew up surfing together. That's my best friend since childhood. We're still friends
today. Our kids are great friends. I'm the godparent. And he's the godparent to my kids.
So we opened JiRaffe restaurant in 1996. And we had a lot of success and it did well. And
in 1997 we won the Best New Chef Award from Food and Wine Magazine. So that was a huge
accolade. It was all that-- Like I said at that time the internet wasn't what it is now.
And you couldn't, there was no blogging. And no one would know you if you didn't get national
press. So we got the national press. And then our restaurant became a lot more popular.
From there we were invited to cook on cruises. To do demonstrations. And so you get your
name out there. And every time you get to go away and do those events you learn. 'Cause
you have 10, 15 chefs coming together from around the country. And you can learn. Its'
great. You see other chefs what they're doing. You see different techniques. Different ideas.
So it was a really great experience. That was wonderful.
And then in 1999 I kind of wanted to really have my dream and have a really fine dining
restaurant. Because that's what I trained in France. So I really wanted to, you know,
open a fine dining restaurant. So I opened Melisse restaurant in 1999. And we've done
really well there. It's been great. I think Melisse restaurant, for those who've had,
I know a lot of people have been there. And our goal at Melisse restaurant is to create
an experience. A great experience. A memory. A souvenir. Of a time in your life. Maybe
a birthday. An anniversary. A promotion. So that's really our goal. So we really work
hard. And that begins for us, shopping at the farmer's market. Procuring the ingredients
that we're gonna use to prepare. Because that's the first and most important thing. Is if
we don't have good ingredients, can't make great food.
So it starts, we have four or five of us go to the market every Wednesday. The Santa Monica
Market. And some Saturdays one of us goes. Not as many on Saturdays. And it's pretty
much of a treat when you go see us there. We really scour through everything. I mean,
we are basically hand picking each ingredient for our diners. Each ingredient is handpicked
to create that experience. And that's where the experience starts for me. Is every morning
in the kitchen to create it.
Moving all the way to the front of the house .and the front of the house its' really about
creating the experience of kings and queens. Alright? So when people come in we want them
to feel like kings and queens. And every once in a while we get a letter, where people say
"We felt like kings and queens." And that's like, you know, then we know we're really
doing our job well. Alright. So that's really our goal.
So that being said, today I would, gonna demonstrate a simple mushroom soup. Mushroom soup with
a truffle mousse and a little hash. I always like to add something to a dish to kinda give
it another dimension. A textural dimension. But before that we're gonna taste a little
molecular gastronomy. 'Cause I know that's pretty hot. So I think they're ready. They
can bring in the spoons.
So the first thing we're gonna do is something we serve as hors d'oeuvres at Melisse. Which
was inspired by Ferran Adria. Well it was actually inspired, the flavors we use, the
technique was inspired by Ferran Adria. The flavors we use. The grape wrapped in the goat
cheese and the pistachio was inspired by when I was in France I didn't get paid. So after
work I would go work for a caterer. And I would roll these goat cheese, just huge amounts
of catering. A lot of weddings. Jewish weddings. So I would roll grapes with goat cheese and
pistachio. So that became an hors d'oeuvre at Melisse. Before molecular gastronomy. Then
I said well, I wanna use these same flavors but I wanna make a modern presentation. So
this came up here. Where we have a sphere of grape juice and inside of it is a goat
cheese and it is then macerated in pistachio. And then we sprinkle a pistachio on top. Fleur
de sel and cracked pepper. Fleur de sel is a flour of the salt. The best salt available.
One of the best salts available. But what I think is the best salt. There's a lot of
great salts out there.
So this is made with, we, this is made by using alginate. Which is a kelp product. Its'
been modified. And calcium gluco. Gluco. Which is a calcium lactate and a calcium glucinate.
So what happens is this is a reverse spherification. There's two kinds. Right. One is a sodium
chloride solution that you put the alginate mixed with the ingredient inside of it. Inside
the solution. And then there's the reverse where you put the alginate as a solution of
water bath. And then you put the gluco inside of it. So seems easy but different flavors
and different amounts of pH. It changes everything. So you have to go through it and find it.
Most of that work is being created by scientists. Most chefs are really not in there doing that.
We have dinner to do. So luckily we have a lot of help from food scientists. Which, when
I was growing up I never would have thought that I ever would rely on a food scientist
for anything. Because it's kinda everything opposite for what you learn in the back in
the old classical style of French cooking. So we're gonna pass these out and then I'm
gonna start getting, preparing on the mushroom soup.
[calm strings music plays]
>>Josiah: Alright, so for the soup that we're gonna do, we're gonna use some mushrooms.
We just have some white mushrooms here. And then we have some dried porcini mushrooms
[dishes clink]
We have some onions. Leeks. A little garlic. So the garlic here, we take the germ out of
it. So with all garlic we always take that little germ that goes down the middle out.
That's really the part that kinda, when you, after you have a lot of garlic and you start
getting indigestion. That's the part, if you remove that it really helps. It's the bitter
part. OK?
Remove the germ.
[dishes clank]
Some onions. We have some celery root. And we have some apple. I find that mushroom is
set off nicely by the celery root and the apple. That really strainy root vegetable
with the acidic of the green apple. And we have some good old cream, chicken stock, mushroom
stock. And some bay leaf and thyme. Some chestnuts. OK?
So when you start, whenever you start you wanna a start off by, I mean, the idea is
we're trying to coax flavors out of these ingredients. We wanna find a way to make these
taste like the most amazing onions, leeks, celery, all together in one. So we wanna coax
the flavors out. So to do that, we need to turn the heat up a little bit.
We're gonna sweat the onions. And the garlic. Inside of a little butter. You know, everything
is quality. So the best butter you can find. I think clover butter is a great butter available
at Whole Foods. We have all the imported French butters. Most of those have been frozen. So
doesn't mean it's' not as good. But some of it doesn't. OK.
There we go.
[spoon clanks in pot]
[strings music continues]
>>Josiah: So when we're sweating it off, you wanna add the butter and you wanna sweat it
off slowly. By the way I'm cooking on an induction burner. So this is the magnetic heat transfer.
They're great. I mean they've not really caught on that much in restaurants or in homes. But
it's not like usual electric. So everybody says electric's bad. But it's boiling now.
I can just turn it down and instantly the heat stops.
[vegetables sizzling]
>>Female audience member #1: Do you use those in the restaurant?
>>Josiah: Yeah. We have two induction burners in the restaurant. And the next time I remodel,
I wanna do my whole kitchen more induction. If I ever get to that stage. I got two kids
to send to college, but.
But I'd like to do the induction burners.
[sizzling and clanking]
OK. So here we're gonna sweat this off. Now, to bring out the flavor, the most important
ingredient is salt. Right. And I think it's, how do we use salt can really determine how
you, how much you use. So by putting a little salt in here at the beginning to bring out
the flavor.
This is the sel gris. Sel gris is, it's a French salt. A sea salt. And it's what we
use in all of our seasoning for everything. Our basic seasoning. We don't use kosher salt.
We use sel gris. Used to be, used to come in, it's really wet salt. Ok. And so we used
to get it in and we had to dry it out. And we had to grind it in a mortar. Now more people
started using it so they come in this form which is ready to go. I don't know. It used
to be like dry it out, grind it up. It's a lot of work. Our Robot Coupe never had a blade.
Ok. And so here we're just gonna sweat this off. We put a little salt in. and then we're
gonna add the leeks. And a little salt also. Every time we put an ingredient to cook, we're
gonna add a pinch of salt. And we wanna sweat that out until it's soft and translucent.
It's about five to seven minutes. OK.
So always mixing it. Really, you know, bringing out the flavors. Slowly cooking it. And then
we're gonna add a little bit of celery root.
[clanking and sizzling]
At that point too we're gonna put a pinch. Now when you're using salt like this. It's
just a little bit each time. You don't wanna over salt it. And if you're gonna reduce something
you can't do that. Another time you can't add salt in the beginning is when you wanna
make something brown and crispy. Alright, 'cause it's gonna leach out the water. So
basically we're taking out the water. And so now we're gonna simmer it inside of its
own juices. OK.
Then we're gonna add the apples.
OK. And once this is nicely cooked down.
OK. Then we have the mushrooms. So when we put the mushrooms in, we're gonna turn the
heat up. OK. These mushrooms are gonna leech a lot of water out. OK, so we have to turn
it up so we can reduce down and concentrate the flavor. So add the mushrooms.
Turn it up some.
And now and again we're gonna add a pinch of salt.
So it's' pretty interesting right? The grape the way it. So what hap—it cooks the outside,
OK. So the alginate and the gluco they have the chemical reaction. It starts cooking it.
So the alginate's cooking the lactate inside of it. So it keeps cooking. So if you leave
'em overnight in the solution. It's gonna be like a ball you can bounce on the ground.
[audience chuckles]
But we leave it in about probably about a minute. Minute and a half. Two minutes.
So we're gonna cook this and we're gonna let this cook down. OK. And then another part
of this dish we're gonna have is we're gonna have a mushroom and potato hash. So while
that's cooking I'll go through this.
So basically what we have is we have, we like to use Yukon potatoes, right? Great Yukon
potato. Its' a big one. So we cut this into a dice. Again. And we're gonna put this in
water. So one quart of water to one tablespoon of salt. That's the ration we always use at
the restaurant. We're gonna put it in cold water. So whenever you cook potatoes you wanna
start 'em in cold water. OK. And the salt already inside. We're gonna bring it to a
boil slowly. But not all the way to a boil. Never wanna boil potatoes. So contrary to
what everybody thinks, like when we make mashed potatoes, we don't boil the potatoes. Right?
'Cause we don't want the sugar and the starches to get activated and they get that gummy flavor.
And they lose that flavor. It starts to, it starts to change the sugars in it. OK? So
we wanna cook it until it is cooked through though. And we're gonna take 'em out. Strain
'em out of water. And then we're gonna dry it really well. You have to dry it really
really well. Then we're gonna take some of these white mushrooms. So if you're gonna
make this, find, well if you find some porcini mushrooms, that's the best. When they're available.
Then you're gonna take these. And you wanna find the biggest ones you can. 'Cause these
we're gonna. The white mushroom we're gonna remove the, um
We're gonna dice 'em. So it's a lot easier the bigger they are. Then we're gonna cut
'em in nice little dices. Now, whenever you cut the mushroom, bigger than the potato.
Because the mushroom is gonna shrink more than the potato did. So we can end up with
a nice size hash like this. I don't know if any, you all see, all be able to see. I don't
know if you can see that. OK.
OK. So then we just cut 'em in a nice dice. Little bit bigger than the potato would be.
And the mushroom you kinda gotta work fast. 'Cause they will start to oxidize. Once they've
been cut. So you gotta kinda go fast once you do this. So this would be something you
do at the last minute. OK.
So we have our, we have our mushroom hash. Mushroom and potato hash. So we have our soup
which is cooking. And then we're gonna make the little. In the recipe there's a really
complicated way to make the truffle mousse. But I'm gonna show just a quicker way we can
do this right now.
So we're just gonna take some crème fraiche as a whipping cream. We're gonna whip it up.
We're gonna grate, grate a little fleur de sel. A little salt inside. We're gonna grate
a little black truffle. Fresh black truffle season right now.
This is a black diamond.
[audience chuckles]
You see now, it's been a hard year because it's been so cold in Europe. So it's freezing
so it's gonna end really early.
They're much, anybody can make it more expensive they always do anyway, so.
So we're just gonna take the
A little bit of crème fraiche. A little bit of heavy whipping cream. So we use Kendall
Farm crème fraiche at the restaurant. And we also use Clover Cream from. And unfortunately
I'm kinda trying, I'm kinda thinking about petitioning Alta Dena maybe to start more
of a--couple chefs we're gonna try to get together. Maybe they'll start more of a artisanal
side for their milk. There are some locals we have here. One of 'em. I don't know how
long people were in LA. There used to be a creamery right here on, uh, Edgemar. The Edgemar
building? You know where the Edgemar building is? The Ben and Jerry's. That was Edgemar
Dairy. So that used to be, they used to bottle milk. It's crazy right? It used to be the
milkman right? Imagine years ago the milkman would go to every house and drop the milk
off. That was coming from local places. And kinda cool. So hopefully Alta Dena might start
doing something like that.
OK. So. We're gonna whip the, whip it up like you would to make
OK. So while this is cooking now we're gonna add the chicken stock. No, sorry we're gonna
add the chestnuts. Chestnuts, now, chestnuts you can find. Right now it's not the season
so frozen chestnuts. They're really good. And then if you have fresh chestnuts it's
great. You have to kinda slit them down the middle. In the book there's a description.
And you roast them in the oven at like 375 degrees so that the skin loosens up and you
can peel 'em off. OK?
Uh, I that bag. I need a spoon to do the crenel and few other things.
Alright, so we're gonna add the chicken stock.
And the mushroom stock.
Now if you don't have mushroom stock it's not necessary to have it.
>>Male #1: How do you make it?
>>Josiah: Uh, you make it, you just take mushrooms. White mushrooms. The easiest way to make it
would be to fill a pot with some white mushrooms. And if there's wild ones available. Throw
a few there. Don't cover all of it with water. Cover it ¾ of the way with water. Sprinkle
with salt. And then a bay leaf. And thyme? OK? And then from there you would bring it
to a boil. Let it to a simmer. And let it cook until, just 45 minutes until all the
liquid comes out. There should be more liquid than you started with, from the mushrooms.
Then you strain it out and then taste it. If it's not strong enough reduce it slowly
by half. Again in the beginning you put a little salt. Not a lot. 'cause you're gonna
reduce it after. Mushroom stock. Great stocks. Always make a lot more than you think. Throw
'em in the freezer. Never underestimate. If you're gonna make stocks and you wanna cook,
make your own stocks. Make the stocks. Take a day. Make the stocks. You know. Cool 'em
down. And then freeze 'em.
Great. To have 'em. And they're better than these store bought stocks they have. OK?
OK. So we're gonna bring this to a boil. Let that simmer for a while. OK? Then we're gonna
add the cream inside. Then we're gonna simmer that for a little while. Simmer it. We don't
wanna boil it too hard. Always bring it to a boil. Simmer it. We're gonna simmer it.
And then, it's a real taste, I think it's good taste. 'Cause cooking is, I mean it's
evasive. It runs away. Sometimes it tastes amazing, and you go "Wow it's good." And then
15 minutes later it doesn't taste the same anymore. So you really wanna catch it at that
right moment. So taste as you go. Little tastes as you go. You really wanna catch it. It's
important. I try to teach all the young cooks. You wanna capture that one moment when its'
We're gonna whip this up. I don't do this anymore. So you know. Takes longer.
Raw milk. And making curds and whey. So we're separating it out. The Farmer's market, they
have one. Right now it's the big thing. It's not. Pretty much raw milk is done, right?
I mean, the FDA is raiding Amish communities right now. It's, and they've been doing this
for hundreds of years. They're raiding. They arrest them. It's pretty sad. Sad, sad state
to be in.
[whisk clacking against bowl]
About the raw milk. You know, it's
[whisk sound]
So but anyway, you separate the curds and whey, then obviously I'm sure a lot of you,
you've heard of like Noma. These restaurants that are kinda getting popular, in the, so,
here you don't have to worry about this stuff. But it's fun to play with it. We have the
vegetables all year. So we've been playing with fermentation and aging vegetables. And
seeing what happens when you try to preserve 'em. It's kinda fun to do it when, one of
the most amazing flavors is when you make like sauerkraut but you use like whey. The
amount of whey to 12 percent salt. It's amazing the smell, the flavor. It's great. We've been
doing like kohlrabi and salsify, with kale.
[whisk sound]
OK. So you just wanna whip this like this 'til it's, you don't wanna, we don't wanna
turn it into butter. But we just wanna whip it.
[whisk sound]
We have nice soft peaks.
[whisk sound]
Soft peaks are like this. Just to form a nice, you know. OK.
[whisk sound]
Now one thing you, you texturally want, we're gonna grate a little truffle in here. Microplane
works great for the truffle. So.
[grating sound]
OK. And then.
Once you've whipped it up to where you don't wanna whisk any more, just gonna put a little
salt. Then we're just gonna fold it together to create the, to get the texture we want.
There we go.
[clanging] You wanna fold it in. Just like making a mousse.
OK. We're gonna have this here.
So, our soup is done here. It was done. We've put everything in. basically. The cream goes
in, we cook it, OK. And then at the end we're gonna turn it off and we're gonna infuse the
mushrooms in. OK. So we're gonna put the mushrooms in at the end. We don't wanna cook those mushrooms.
They get a little bitter. So we're just gonna put it in, stop it, and let it infuse inside.
There's also bay leaf and thyme that actually goes in here when you add the stock. I left
that out. Excuse me.
Alright. So now we've got our, our beautiful soup. It's done. Right. It's ready. The magic
of two bots and TV. Everything happens like that.
Um, so then we're gonna put it in the blender. So. The blender is one of my favorite favorite
favorite kitchen utensils. Because well, I guess it makes, these vitamixes make such
fine purees. And we use so many purees at the restaurant. Our food is based on really
taking an ingredient and playing with it in a lot of different ways. I'll explain one
of the dishes at the end. So the blenders really help with that. Back in the old days
we used to have to do it where I had to, you know we had to put it through the Robot Coup.
Or went straight to the tamis. You know the tamis. Hours. Before they had these powerful
blenders. The tamis. You take for hours. Right. And you get strong arms. But whoo. Difficult.
OK so we're gonna turn the blender on. And whenever you use a blender, you wanna start
by, on a low. Very very low. So you wanna turn it on and slowly turn it on. 'Cause food
[inaudible] then you know I'll turn the blender on. Have to clean the ceiling trick. So we're
just gonna turn it up. So it's loud.
[blender whirring]
And we're gonna blend it, you know, 'til it's pretty smooth and creamy. Ok, this is a little
thick. So I'm gonna take, steal a little of this. So but if it's ever too thick. You just
add a little bit. Even I can't do it right every time. So. You know, cooking is always
details. Little extras here and there.
[blender whirring loudly]
OK. So now at this point, there's two ways you can do this. You can run it through a
chinois raw into another pot. OK. We're gonna add some butter while it's blending to get
it nice and saucy.
[blender whirring loudly]
At this point we're gonna turn it really high so it gets like really bubbly and light.
[blender whirs louder]
So, this is nice and light. And it. At this point we have a beautiful soup. Do you have
the hand mixer? Can I use it? Or? After you do that. Fine. But.
Smells amazing and it tastes good. Smells amazing and, um.
Alright, good.
OK, so at this point we're gonna strain it. Into another pot. Because, or into a tureen.
A soup tureen or a fancy pot. So I like to prevent the seeds and do it all tableside.
So at this point we put this in. Let me just put this back on. Here. And now we have our
beautiful soup. So. We use a hand mixer. You don't have to. So at this point you can go
right into the pot. And then.
We have our, how's that soup taste.
>>Audience members: It's really good. It's real good.
>>Josiah: So just one quick note. I'm pureeing and doing hot purees. So if you're gonna make
this soup—thank you—if you're gonna make this soup and you're not gonna serve it that
day. Or you're gonna serve it, you're gonna cool it down first, it's important you just
can't put it in the fridge. Alright? Whenever you cool something down, say you're making
soup. And you wanna make a lentil soup. Or for the week, say you make a stew for the
week. I don't know, something. You need to take a big bowl of ice. Stainless steel bowl
of ice. And then put another bowl on top of that. Put a bowl beside it. And you wanna
transfer what you're gonna cool down into that. Put it on top of the ice and then slowly
mix it. So you cool it quickly.
Flavor wise, like I said, things disappear quickly. You wanna do that for that. Once
we're done, we hit that spot we want to be at, you wanna try to keep it in that area
so when we heat it back up. Another reason is health reasons. Bacteria forms. When you
put it in the fridge it cools way too slow. Especially in plastic. So just a little side
note. Cooling things. It's called a ice bath. You call it a water bath.
OK. Alright. So now we have our mix, right? We're just gonna finish sautéing it up.
Just do this. It gives a nice smell. It tastes pretty amazing right? The hash, and--OK
[dishes clanking]
Sauté this up. OK. There's about, I think the texture between the hash and the mousse
and the soup. For everything we do today we try to give it a little bit you know, different,
extra added texture. Flavor. To take the level to make it the complexity more. So this you
just sauté them up, the mushrooms. Simple. Reheat it. Or we'd start from the mashed potatoes
and the mushrooms where you sauté it and get the mushrooms golden. Add the potatoes
and sauté it 'til they're nice and golden. And then we season this at the end. This is
one of those things you wanna season at the end. Because we're trying to keep it crispy.
I'm gonna put a little thyme branch in there. Thyme. You can add, you know, this is, cooking
is one of those things. Feel free to add. In this book, just 'cause the recipes are
written out doesn't mean you have to follow those. Follow the techniques. Follow the ideas.
But it's up to every individual to kinda play with it and have fun. I hear some of you,
"I can't make that in the restaurant. Too many ingredients." Well, cherry pick. Make
the vinaigrette. Make the sauce. Make the puree. This is a book, 'cause if I did a book
where everything is simple everything's simple everyone would say "Well why is it so simple?
At your restaurant you don’t cook like that." So it's kind of like a catch 22.
OK, so we've sautéed these up nicely.
>>Audience member: [inaudible]
>>Josiah: Or we could just come cook for Melisse. That's true. Now we're just gonna kinda form
a nice mold here.
Decorate this out.
[dish clanking]
Smells nice. Everything, you know smell is so important to cooking, right?
OK. So this is important. So this is the part I love, where you hit--These do very great,
Bamix, Cuisinart ones
[hand mixer whirrs loudly]
[inaudible] but they're hitting it outside there, they're hitting it every time. They're
really get it light, airy.
OK, so.
You can see how bubbly it is and beautiful. So at the restaurant we finish it. We put
the crenelle on like this. On top of the potatoes. We do a crenel. This is a technique in French
cooking called crenel. Right. Looks easy right?
It's not. Trust me.
Most of the time, the big thing in the restaurant, Melisse, we do a lot of crenelles. So all
the cooks that come in, they start cooking there. It's like, OK. You have to learn how
to do crenelles. Or we can't afford them to do truffle mousse crenelle practice all day.
The trick is, get some Crisco. Go home after work, sit in front of the TV. And do some
crenelles. Did Ronnie ever do that?
See? Proof, that really happens.
Huh? Cool whip. There you go. Cool whip. Crisco. It's the truth. It really happens.
OK. And then we take that little bit of garnish here. So. I like to. Oops. Here we go. Garnish.
Little churvo on top. So, they use these tools. These are actually forceps. Actually cotton
tweezers. My best friend's a dentist. So I go buy his office and I steal the cotton tweezers.
Two things that I steal from him actually at the restaurant. One, as we all know is
the syringe, right. 'Cause we have the chocolate-chocolate-chocolate. So I take the syringes from him, and the forceps.
Call them cotton tweezers.
OK. There we go. So now, at home if you're cooking this, and you're doing this dish and
whatever. Any dish. Any soup. And it needs [ ]. So you put it at the table in front of
the guest. And then we come around here. And then we'd just pour it around. It comes out
so nice and bubbly and airy. And that's the hand blender just at the end. Or you can do
it in the blender also. You don't have to have the hand blender. You can just run it
in a blender for a while. Everybody can see this. And then.
There's our mushroom soup with truffle mousse and hash. Chestnut mushroom soup. Everybody
can see this here.
[audience comments and laughs]
You can pass it around, that's fine.
OK. So as I was saying, at the restaurant we like to do a lot of dishes based on purees
and I'll talk about one dish we do right now. It's called, I like to say it's broccoli and
beef. Ok. So we take the broccoli. And we try to find a longer broccoli with the long
stems. We take that off, we peel it, and then we braise it off so it really gets sweet.
Has a crunch to it. But really the best part of the broccoli is the part that usually ends
up in the trash. OK. It's true. Alright. And so we take that. We roast that off. Just braise
it and roast it. And we take the broccoli crown and in the summer we make a pesto out
of it. So we're always trying to find, what can we do a little different using the ingredients.
So we make a pesto. But instead of using parmesan cheese we use aged Gruyere cheese. Or Cantal.
Great flavor. So we put that conte. We put that in the pesto. With pine nuts. And a little
bit of garlic. And all the garlic we use we remove the germ. And a lot of it we triple
blanch. That means we put it in cold water. We bring it to a boil. Once. Chill it. And
then do that two more times. So three times you do that process. It talks about it in
the book also.
It's pretty cool. Uh, so, then we have the broccoli, roasted broccoli stem. We have the
broccoli pesto. And a few other pieces of broccoli. Pan roast them with a little bit
of lemon zest and some of the same cheese. So kind of like cheese and broccoli. That's
the plan, right. The cheese and broccoli. American classic steakhouse. So we have our,
there, and then the last part we take the leaves of the broccoli. We deep fry it. So
we have the three, the four parts of the broccoli. In different forms. It's wonderful flavor.
It's interesting. I think it's intellectual in a way. On the plate. And then we have the
beef. We have the rib eye that we roast. And then we slowly finish it on, we kind of mark
it on the hibachi grill. And then we have the cheek that we braise for 24 hours to,
the Wagyu beef cheek that we've braised for 24 hours in red wine. So we have two different
kinds of beef and four different kinds of broccoli. And that's what I think is what
about food is playing with it. Then how do we, I'm not really super molecular, at Melisse.
I'd say we're modern cuisine. But we're not molecular. OK? We do things like the glutinate
and things like that. So. That's kinda. The idea behind the food that we try to create
at Melisse.
So I'm gonna try to do some Q and A right now. So, anybody, I think we have some microphones.
And questions. Anything you wanna ask about. Like surfing. Where are you gonna surf tomorrow
morning? Is the wind gonna be the right way?
>>Female Audience Member #2: I wanna know more about what you cook at home. What you
cook for the kids. And sorta, things like this broccoli cheese pesto. I'm like, oh,
my daughter would love that. What else can you suggest?
>>Josiah: OK, for my kids you know, well, the difficulty with kids is, one likes one
thing, one doesn't like something. So. But a lot of times at home I like to do like things
like, chop chae. I make it good, I get some of the sweet potato noodles and do something
with chop chae. Every Monday I usually cook at home on Monday nights. I like to do rotisserie
chickens. I have the Ronco rotisserie. It's great. I mean, you know, how you brine the
chicken. I mean, when I, we let it sit in the fridge and then I throw it on the rotisserie.
Throw the potatoes under it. So they're really good for days when you have things to do with
the kids and you've gotta go out. You put it on an hour, come back, your dinner's ready.
And you can put some, you know, mixed carrots and everything underneath it. And the drips,
and it cooks inside there. Other things I do, like the other night I just did tacos.
I mean, made some tacos, my kids like that. I just got buffalo meat instead. And then
I used, there was some great at Whole Foods, I actually go shopping for my food. Because
I don't wanna go on my day off to the restaurant. So then I used cabbage. Slice cabbage inside.
Made a pico de gallo. You know, I might make little different things. Different ideas.
Um, soups. We do a lot of soups. I like to make like minestrone where I'll make a sweet,
squash broth. And then put diced squashes in it. And some pastas. And you know, different
beans. Kinda make a different version of minestrone. What else do I cook for my kids. I mean, always
they like the grilled meat. So like grilled meat. Or they like the, you know they have,
my wife she makes a lot of times at home for the kids. She gets the, there's actually the
Kalbi meat. Frozen at Trader Joes. And the kids love it. So it's easy. I mean, you know.
It's just that I try to add something like the broccoli or sweet, we always try to add
something healthy. Whether it's a vegetable or whatever you do. You know you make the
stuff you know. Good thing at home. I mean it's not healthy but you take some grated
parmesan cheese. And some butter and some lemon zest and some parsley and you mix it
in the, with some bacon inside. You put some sautéed bacon and you mix it and you roll
it into logs. In the cuisinart. Throw it in the freezer. And you wanna make cabonari.
Or cabonara. Put some egg in there too. And then you mix it. Roll it into like logs. And
you need a fast meal for the kids. Boom. You have your carbonara. Slice it up, throw it
in the pan, it's done. Right. Anyway. I mean, where else do we cook at home?
>>Male Audience Member #1: [inaudible]
>>Josiah: That's not healthy. This is for healthy.
But it's delicious alright?
You know, I mean it's hard, because we have this, we have this, I'm never home at night.
So my wife is always. And she's not really a cook. So we have this discussion when she's
ordering takeout too much. So I gotta go home. Maybe I'll make enchiladas on Monday and I
gotta freeze 'em so she can heat 'em up later in the week. So pick your day to cook, I think.
And then prepare things and then freeze it.
>>Female Audience Member #2: So you do order takeout.
>>Josiah: Oh, believe me. They had five days this week.
We had a big discussion last night about that. Too much takeout!
Yeah. That's--but it's, I mean it's hard. Kids are hard. Because one likes one thing
and the other doesn't. that's the problem. My son eats anything. My daughter eats pasta.
Even if we order racabania. Last night they were at racabania. Just you know modest. I
haven't' been to racabania since I was, I mean it's kind of like a ritual. 'Cause I
went there when I was eight years old. So we were there last night. And my daughter
she only eats the rice and beans. And I said "you can just make that." And my son eats
the chicken, not the tortilla part. I was like, what's the point of ordering here?
Any other questions?
>>Male Audience Member #2: Do you still own JiRaffe?
>>Josiah: Yeah. I don't own JiRaffe. Um. But I'm still friends with him. And we do own
a restaurant together. It's called Lemon Moon. Which is on Olympic and Bundy. And the Lemon
Moon name is actually 'cause it's our my last name is Citrin and his last name is Lunetta.
So it's lemon and moon. And that's how we got the name. and now it's popular, Lemon
Moon, 'cause [ ] has been there. It's like the last couple nights. So.
>>Female Audience Member #3: So I've heard stories about how it's really cutthroat competition
in the chef world. And you sort of made this sound like it was really easy. So. [laughs]
>>Josiah: No.
>>Female Audience Member #3: A little more.
>>Josiah: Alright. It is very cutthroat. It's hard. And it's, yes, that's a great question.
It's cutthroat in the chef world. But it's, every business is cutthroat. Everywhere you
look it's cutthroat. It's very competitive. It's hard. It's grueling work. And you get
some, I mean a lot of it's luck. I mean it's different now. I mean, people that can't cook,
they go on a TV show, the personality works, they win the TV show. Then they're a famous
chef. It happens all the time. You're gonna see in 10 years we're gonna pay for all this
craziness in the TV, when you have no good chefs anymore because all people wanna do
is become a TV chef. So many kids come out of school and their attitude is "Aw, I'll
get famous." But you have to learn to cook first. But it's cutthroat. It was hard. I
mean we were competitive in the kitchens. I mean, you're always fighting to get the
next position. I mean you wanna be the better one. It's very competitive. I try to have
a different atmosphere at Melisse. And it's not so competitive. But competitive people
succeed in life. That's the thing. And unfortunately it works that way. Always push yourself to
be better. I mean, that's how I look at competitiveness. So. I'm very competitive. I don't like being
number two so there you go.
>>Female Audience Member #4: I want to ask two.
>>Josiah: Yes.
>>Female Audience Member #4: The first one is, do you in your kitchen do you tend to
like people come out of, straight out of culinary school? Or do you prefer people who just maybe
have worked at different restaurants and paid their dues, so to speak.
>>Josiah: OK. So culinary school or working? Well, my, I prefer the working. Not the culinary
school. Not if you just take away two equal cooks, two equal work ethics, but school.
One is carrying a huge debt. OK? So what you get paid in the kitchen is not much. So most
times you hire someone, that needs to pay back that debt once those, it comes due, they
have to start making the payments. Then a lot of great cooks end up in a hotel. In banquet
cooking. Could become a great chef. They end up in banquet chef. Because they need the
money to pay it back. And then, becoming a chef it's a, a marathon. It's not a race.
So you hit the pinnacle they're making 40 thousand dollars and they're done. And they're
in a banquet kitchen and that's it. And then it's all about how much money are you gonna
produce. You have to, we want a 19 percent food cost. You know. So I think that that's
why. So I've had a great success. That's Ronnie. Everybody knows Ronnie here? So Ronnie came
to dinner one night.
If you don't know the story. Ronnie. She came to dinner one night. Had dinner. Liked it.
Came in the kitchen. Talked to the chef. Said OK, and I guess emailed a couple times, didn't
get some response. Said "Damn, I guess I better bring in some cake. Or some macaroons." Came
to the, I wasn't in there at the time. I was out of town at the time. Came back and then
we had Ronnie workin' the kitchen. So no experience nothing. Ronnie she's actually worked three
stations there in a year. Pretty good rapid going around. Excellent job. I still use her
all the time. Whenever, she's not working there anymore, but, whenever I have, you know,
she comes and helps us whenever she can. So it's great. So that's a person, no kitchen
experience. Came in. it comes down to being smart. You know. Common sense, smart, good
work ethic. So that's it.
Next question.
>>Female Audience Member #4: Second question. [laughter]
You said you did your training in France. Have you been back to France recently? What
is a great city to go eat? And, or in Europe in general?
>>Josiah: OK.
>>Female Audience Member #4: I know there's a lot of--
>>Josiah: That's a good question.
>>Female Audience Member #4: And you know, it's of Noma.
>>Josiah: Spain.
>>Female Audience Member #4: you know, so like, where would you go?
>>Josiah: Where would I go? Well, I go back to France pretty often. Every year and a half
I like to go to France. Paris is my favorite city in the world no matter what. Maybe not
the food's not what it was. It's not, you know. But to me it's the best city in the
world. I mean I love Paris.
I mean, there's so many places to go. I think it's a journey. I haven't been to Noma and
these restaurants. So I can't say if it's great or not. I plan to go. So, I think, the
best answer, my best answer to that question is, the best place to go is where you have
a desire to eat. What restaurant interests you? You know I can't say one or the other.
What you really wanna go, go to where you wanna see. And what interests you. I mean,
Paris is great. Leon, if you like cream and butter, go to Leon. I was in Leon last year.
Let me tell you, I came back sick. I never wanted to eat again. There was some much cream
and butter in everything. Foi gras everywhere. And everything they eat is so heavy. But it's
good. It was good. The south of France in the summertime. If you wanna eat good Mediterranean
fish. Nice pizzas. Italy. Italy to me is one of the best foods there is. Especially so
fresh. And in Spain you have all these restaurants in the San Sebastian area. So many great places.
So it's pretty much a never ending journey.
I mean there's a great place in Brazil now. It's in the Amazon. Sao Paulo. It's called
Dome. This guy's cooking things that we don't even know what they are. Like they're getting
it from the Amazon. So it's not known ingredients to the rest of the world. Doing amazing stuff
with technique. So like I said earlier, information travels so fast now. There's so many amazing
places that you can find. And people can go in the middle of nowhere and do something
and people can find them. And then we can go. So it's a hard question. Tokyo is a great
food city. If you have, I mean, that's to me, when it comes to eating you can't go wrong
in Tokyo. You can Italian food, French food, Japanese food, Chinese food. You can eat every
food in the world is pretty much done better than anywhere else in the world. So.
I mean that's the truth. Coffee. There was just a article about, coffee shops aren't,
there's not a lot of coffee shops in Japan. So they're starting to become popular. They
don't, one coffee shop will not serve espressos yet. Because they can't make 'em properly.
The espresso drinks. So they're only doing Americano, the drip coffee. So I mean, that's
to their culture that's amazing. Next question?
>>Male Audience Member #3: Ah, what are some things I can do to become a better home cook?
Given that I'm not going to unfortunately go to culinary school or come work at Melisse?
>>Josiah: OK. Well I think first off to become a better home cook, start off by good ingredients.
Taking time. And I think cookbooks are great to use. I think there's some great books like
Mario Batali's books are amazing. They really have a lot of basic stuff. And really good
technique. Sound technique. The Julia Child books. They're good too. 'Cause they teach
you technique. I mean this is classical stuff. I mean books like my book. It's harder stuff.
But we really go through and talk about the preparation and the way you thing. I think
it starts to be a way of thinking. A way of cooking things. Taking time. Buying the right
ingredients. Whatever you do I think it's reading the recipes. Three or four times before
you make it. And the more knowledge you put inside, then when you're cooking, this happens.
[snaps] So then all of a sudden you know to move the pan now. You know to turn it down.
Because you've read so many different recipes and different ideas. And I think that's the
basic way. If you're not gonna go to, read cookbooks. Read food blogs. I mean, Nancy
Silverton books are really good. I think the [Java Deelantos] books are pretty good, too.
I mean for basic. Basics. Start basic and work your way up.
It's the best thing to do I think. I mean cooking class and all that, it's not real.
You have two hours to do a class, it's not. It's great to go but I think just reading
great cookbooks.
You had a question?
>>Male Audience Member #4: No, actually Matthew had a question.
>>Josiah: Matthew.
>>Male Audience Member #5: Is there another restaurant in LA or other chefs that you look
up to, admire? I mean that you look forward to going to?
>>Josiah: Yes, there is. I mean I had an all time favorite place. Which is called Mori
Sushi. I looked up to this, he actually sold it. But I would look up to go there a lot.
As much as I could. Because he had such deep knowledge in fish. And I talked to him. I
learned so much every time I went there. Other restaurants I admire. The chef of Bettina
right now. He's a French gentleman named Tony. Downtown. He's amazing. Providence. The other
places that I've been that are really good, uh. I like Gino Angelini. He makes great Italian
food. So there's a lot of chefs I like here. I mean, Lee Hefter from Spago. Was an amazing
chef when he was at Spago. He's very much corporate now, all around. There's so many
places. You know I try to keep my, be humble and like everybody around. And wanna learn
from everybody I can.
Thank you.
More questions? Any more questions? I saw the people with their hands up earlier and
>>Male Audience Member #6: Yeah. What techniques could you recommend for preparing raw fish?
What do you need to look for? For buying? And handling?
>>Josiah: I think you need to, get the best fish possible. So I definitely would suggest
when it comes to raw fish going to the Japanese markets. Like Mitsuwa. There's another one
on Sato across the way from, on Sato. There's one off Olympic. I definitely--And the Nijiya
market. Nijiya. I definitely go to those places and buy it. They have it prepped. And I think,
keep it cold. You have to have a really sharp knife to slice it. And I think, buying the
best product you can. And you know I wouldn't, wash your hands always before you touch it.
>>Male Audience Member#6: But do you place much stock in the label "sashimi grade"?
>>Josiah: No.
>>Male Audience Member #6: No?
>>Josiah: That’s just so they can just say that. I mean, you know, one of the people
that eat raw fish go there and buy that, and they might put it there, I don't even think
at Nijiya it says that. It's all just, it's just there. The fish. They have little blue
fin tunas. They have everything. It's good. They have, great things there actually. Lot
of different variety. They pretty much have I'd say whatever is kinda in season from the
Japanese market at the time in Japan. They have most of that stuff. They, there's big
clientele, Japanese clientele that go buy their fish there. So that's your best bet.
More questions?
>>Male Audience Member #7: How do you think, how often do you change the menu? How do you
come up with new stuff.
>>Josiah: Well, creative is, it's evolution to keep us creative. Of dishes evolving. I
have a team of people. I mean, we try to have a great chef who's been with me 10 years who's
creative. And we try to get people involved. And we do a thing now every Thursday night,
the cooks, one cook prepares a dish, and we all taste it and critique it. So to try to
keep everybody kind of being creative. But the most is just evolution. Farmer's market
is really what drives our creativity the most. Products that you don't see all year. Ingredients,
vegetables that are gone for a year. Fava beans, peas. Don't have morel mushrooms. So
they come back and then, you're excited to use them. Start thinking of different ways
to use them. What we can do. I mean this year we just started getting peas and bonita together.
The dried bonita flakes. And peas, they're sweet. And the smokiness of it. The dried
fishiness. Really nice together. So. Really it's just the seasons, the vegetables. What's
out there. I just try to always find it.
But that's our job. To be creative. You have to stay ahead. I'm petrified of being the
guy, the old guy who's got that restaurant that used to be good years ago.
So. Gotta keep that edge always. That's why I wrote the book, it's called "In pursuit
of excellence." Hopefully 'til I retire.
I wanna be like John Elway. I wanna retire after winning, not on the way down.
Any other questions? Yes?
>>Female Audience Member #5: What's your most recent food discovery?
>>Josiah: My most recent food discovery. Well. Alright. Sumo. Sumo oranges. Sumo citrus.
Alright? So I just, I have a little blog. So I talk about it a little on there. At
so it's, so I, it's, they were there last year. They were out last year. But really
small quantity. Ok. So it's a Japanese breed of citrus. That, dekopon. Depacon? So last
couple, last week I was at Whole Foods and I saw 'em so I got 'em for my kids. And I
ate one. The most sweetest, amazing fruit. I mean, to me there's one, the perfect fruit
is a pink lady apple. You know the tart sweetness. The crunch. And this orange it's the same
thing. It's that perfect balance of food. Of taste. If you can get that in every dish
you make, you've hit a home run every time. The balance in that sumo citrus. So the farmer's
market has them now. In three weeks they'll have organic ones. So you can get 'em at Whole
Foods. But if you like making marmalade you have to buy 'em at the farmers market 'cause
they're not waxed. Same farmer. But Whole Foods they're waxed. Which if you eat 'em
raw, they're both conventionally grown so it doesn't change that much. But if you wanna
make marmalade you have to go to the farmer's market. And in three weeks they will have
organic ones at the market.
>>Male Audience Member #8: Can you talk to us a little about your book?
>>Josiah: Yes I can. So my book is, obviously, I think it's like every chef you wanna have
a book. So it's, I started a year and a half ago. I think about a year and a half ago.
I really started like 12 years ago. You know, I've, the making it was like a year and a
half process. Probably the hardest thing I've ever done. Sit down. Have to write the recipes.
Explain it. And be articulate. Took a long time. But it's really a journey through what
we do at the restaurant. And how we think and our philosophy. About the way to prepare
ingredients in what we do. So it's just really a compilation of the last 12 years. About
choosing vegetables. Storing vegetables but really it was a high anxious, anxiety. A lot
of anxiety in the making of the book. Editing is the hardest part. Cause once you, in a
cookbook you go back and say, oh I could say it better like this. It sounds better if I
say this. And it's not just one recipe. You have to go back and try to make every single
one of those recipes consistent. And once it goes in this format. There's no more work,
there's no more spell check. And that, adobe or whatever. Creative Suite. There's no spellchecker
so it's like wow. Anyway.
>>Male Presenter: So I think we're almost out of time on the tape. Could I steal the
last question?
>>Josiah: Yes please.
>>Male Presenter: So if you could clone yourself and have Josiah II go work and take care of
the restaurant side of the business, what would your other career be?
>>Josiah: My, per, me, uh, you know I like to negotiate and argue. So I'd probably be
a lawyer.
I like. It doesn't matter. I always take the other side the other person has. I could care
less about even agreeing on it. So I think.
>>Male Presenter: We hire a couple of those. So let us know.
>>Josiah: You do. Right?
Not for the. I wouldn't even do it for the degree of the job. Just for the. I just like
doing it. Me and my son's, my son's the same way. So you should see us at the dinner table.
Back and forth. It's good. So. That would be my second job. But I don't wanna do the
eight years of school though. So.
>>Male Presenter: Thank you very much.
>>Josiah: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you all.