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Chef Dominique Ansel

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5 Questions for Chef Dominique Ansel

By Lesley Balla

Photo by Thomas Schauer

01.29.18

Here, the chef opens up about his first solo full-service restaurant, 189 by Dominique Ansel, and tells us what’s in store for his City of Angels outpost.

Why bring your new concept to L.A. and why now?
It’s an amazing, super eclectic city. There’s so much culture. In New York we have tiny kitchens and everything is so small and squeezed. Here there’s a lot more room to do different things.

There are Cronuts, but what about other treats?
The Cronut overshadows everything, right? For L.A., we have a “California Roll,” but it’s not sushi. It’s a pastry with avocado mousse, almond ganache and honey gelée. On the outside, it looks like what you think is a California roll, but inside it’s surprising.

What are some favorites savory items?
We have a small rotisserie so we’re making this amazing roast chicken with black garlic and sesame rice. And there’s a tender cabbage soup that’s a take on French onion soup. For brunch [it’s all about] big dishes.

Where do you find your inspiration for your creations?
Sometimes it’s travel, sometimes it’s my background. I just want the food to connect with people.

What do you love about L.A.?
It’s almost like [every area is a] really small town. Los Angeles [also has] amazing food. There’s good Mexican food in New York, but there is great Mexican food here. It’s just sexier.