Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

SEP 2015

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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24 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • SEPTEMBER 2015 chef's corner Executive Chef Brandon Kida Hinoki & the Bird, Los Angeles, Calif. By Amelia Levin, Contributing Editor C hef Brandon Kida has returned to his hometown to helm the kitchen at the acclaimed Hinoki & the Bird. The restaurant, inconspicuously tucked into Los Angeles' Century City business district, opened in December 2012 as an "imaginative dining concept" by the growing restaurant group Culinary Lab. Raised by his Japanese- American parents in the heart of Los Angeles' Koreatown, Kida is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He's cooked in the kitchens of L'Orangerie in Los Angeles and in New York City, at Lutèce, Asiate at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Smörgås Chef Restaurant Group's Blenheim Hill Farm and, most recently, Clement at The Peninsula Hotel. FE&S: How do you combine your Japanese-American heritage with your exposure to Korean culture and classi- cal French culinary training? BK: Being in Los Angeles this is something that came naturally. In L.A., you have so many different options as far as cuisine, and growing up in the middle of the city in Koreatown and the fact that my father was from Tokyo has had a huge infuence, not only on the food we ate at home, but also in my cooking career. This type of cooking comes naturally to me, and given the style of the restaurant it was a natural ft for me and why this was an easy move from New York. I feel very comfortable here, and I knew that the strengths of my background would work well at the restaurant. FE&S: I know plating is important to you and the restaurant. How do you work with tabletop to showcase your dishes? BK: A lot of the dishes we do are simple and straightforward in terms of the visual side, but once you eat them, they get more complex. So we take a very Japanese- inspired, minimalist approach to plating, though we don't just rely on the standard white plates. We like to use a lot of differ- ent shapes and shades, from blues to grays to blacks that will ft how the customer might eat that dish or what feeling it might create. Lately, I've been working with a local potter to develop some dishes for me. FE&S: That's front of the house, but now I have to ask — what is your favorite equipment in the kitchen? BK: I really enjoy combi ovens because they offer so much fexibility. We mainly use them for the controlled steaming, especially given all the seafood dishes we do. If I want to put a piece of fsh in the combi, I can steam it at as low as 135 degrees F so we can cook the fsh gently and to the point where it's just barely coagulating. Then, we can back off and even hold the fsh for a few minutes, which is great when we are busy because we don't have to worry about it overcooking during service. We also use the combi for cooking vegetables, which is great for large parties when we have pre-portioned the cooked product and just want to blast it to retherm quickly. To have that fexibility and not rely on a conventional oven that gener- ally can dry things out is great. Even in a combi you can have dry heat, but still add 20 or 30 percent of moisture. FE&S: As a high-end, independent restaurant what are the biggest challenges you face? BK: A restaurant is like having a child — you worry about every little thing. And not just about the food costs, which are a real

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