Good news for Los Angeles! E. Michael Reidt (pronounced "reed") will soon be cooking there for real.
E. Michael was up in Santa Barbara, at a place called Sevilla, for awhile, and he also was chef at The Penthouse in Santa Monica, although from what I understand The Penthouse isn’t really about food. He left that place last October and has been traveling the world since then, until just a few days ago when he took over the kitchen of L.A. Farm. He says the place is going to be gutted and redone, to open with a new name in October.
E. Michael is a great guy and a talented chef with quite a nice résumé. A native of Lowell, Mass., he first got recognition at Bamboa, in Boston, where he was a Food & Wine Magazine Best New Chef in 2001. Then he moved to Wish in Miami Beach, got more acclaim (I snagged the picture of him from a profile we did in 2003, when he was at Wish), and he eventually ended up on the West Coast.
E. Michael’s recent travels included a month-and-a-half in Southeast Asia. I wonder how that will influence his food. In the past his fondness of many Brazilian things was brought to bear in his cooking, but not in an overwhelming way.
I have spent a fair amount of time hanging out with E. Michael in Aspen, but I’ve only had his food once, at the James Beard House in 2006, for Carnaval.
Below is a list of what he served then. I have no idea whether he’ll be doing anything like this at the new incarnation of L.A. Farm.
crispy bacalhau with West Coast sea urchin
grilled shrimp with squid ink and linguiça
Kobe beef ceviche with banana and rice crisps
sweet potato soup with foie gras and saba vinegar
truffled goat cheese pao de quiju and coconut
smoked scallop tartare with caramelized cauliflower, pineapple, truffle salt and osetra caviar
salt cod crusted black bass with black-eyed pea mousseline, baby beets, Maine shrimp escabeche and acaraje cracker
a spontaneous extra course of truffled gnocchi
Maine lobster with poached lobster moqueca, grilled lobster sausage, kabocha squash and hen of the woods mushrooms
Veal Threesome: Confit cheek churrasca, Seranno wrapped loin, braised osso-bucco and celery root
Doce de leite cake, caramel mousse tower, lil' doughnut and passion fruit marshmallow