Did You Say Mussels?

by Sophie Gayot

I had to fly to Paris to discover a French restaurant in downtown Culver City, California! How did that happen? On the plane, I happened to be sitting next to the father of Cécile Cornic, who with her husband Sébastien, owns Meet Restaurant. He told me how successful it was, and how Sébastien wanted to open more places, so I dined there upon my return to Los Angeles. I finally understood what Cécile’s father was saying about the bistro. In LA, you cannot just open another restaurant because the first location is successful; you have to have a concept. And there definitely is one here: mussels!

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Celebrating France

by Sophie Gayot

Did you miss Bastille Day yesterday? Don’t worry! Bastille Day celebrations are still going on this weekend. It’s a great time to visit L’Epicerie Market, a very French restaurant in downtown Culver City, California. The partners are Thierry Perez, formerly of Fraîche, and chef Sébastien Archambault who came directly from France to RH restaurant at the ANdAZ hotel in West Hollywood, where he first got acquainted with the Los Angeles food scene. Watch my exclusive video interview with chef Archambault, who only cooks French cuisine. You will learn what type of French cuisine he prepares, and that you can also shop at L’Epicerie Market whether you are dining there or not.

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A Love Affair with French Cuisine

by Sophie Gayot

If you have a love affair with French cuisine, it might as well as be in a restaurant that contains the word “Amour” (love) in its name. That is exactly what chef Walter Manzke is doing while consulting at Saint Amour restaurant, a brasserie in Culver City, Calif.

A California native, Manzke has circled around from the West Coast to Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo with Alain Ducasse, elBulli under Ferran Adrià, three restaurants in Carmel, Calif., to Patina, Bastide and Church & State in Los Angeles. When Saint Amour owner Florence Herve Commereuc called him to ask if he could come on board, Manzke responded “oui,” but he’s looking forward to eventually opening his own place in the City of the Angels. Watch my exclusive video interview with him, and read my just published review of the restaurant, and see why we put it on our list of the Top 10 Bistros in LA.

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Chef Walter Manzke is Cooking in Los Angeles Again

Chef Walter Manzke with Sophie Gayot and chef Mark Peel (left)
Chef Walter Manzke with Sophie Gayot and chef Mark Peel (left)

As I was speaking with chef Walter Manzke last Friday at Taste of Beverly Hills, chef Mark Peel of Campanile and The Tar Pit, came over and asked the former Church & State chef directly, “Are you moving to Chicago?”

Manzke, who had just arrived from Chicago that morning, replied “No. I am just going there one week a month to help the Melman brothers with the reopening of Brasserie Jo.”

Peel replied, “Good, because we want you to stay in Los Angeles,” quite a compliment coming from such a long-time celebrity LA chef. That’s all the information Peel got.

But I got more, much more, in what I believe is a GAYOT.com exclusive. Walter Manzke will return to cooking in Los AngelesCulver City, to be precise—as of tonight.

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A Winning Battle

“Waterloo & City” is the name of a famous subway line in London. It is also on track to becoming a destination restaurant in Culver City, California, due to the talent of chef Brendan Collins. I had previously enjoyed his cooking at The Hall at Palihouse while dining with Curtis Stone, who worked with Collins under Marco Pierre at Quo Vadis in London.

At Waterloo & City, Collins has free rein in the kitchen (which he co-owns with partner/general manager Carolos Tomazos), and his food is so much better and creative. Being English, Collins has created a very interesting gastropub menu, and it’s hard to choose what to order because it is all good.  Continue reading “A Winning Battle” »