Chef Karo Patpatyan, who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Collage of Culinary Arts-Pasadena, has a fine touch when it comes to fine dining. This seasoned chef spent more than a decade with the famed Wolfgang Puck's Spago and recently emerged as the executive chef of downtown Los Angeles' Artisan House last year.
With him, he brought major Californian, Mediterranean influences to the menu at this urban restaurant, bar, and market. Before he manned the helm of Artisan House, which is also known for its promise to sustainable and organic practices, he lent his expertise in menu development and restaurant management as a hospitality banquet chef.
Want to learn more about this culinary master? Check out what he had to say when we asked him six, quick questions.
The Quick Six
Foodable: What’s the first meal (that you can recall) that changed your life?
Karo Patpatyan: In Paris when I was 14, we had pan-roasted whole rouget (red mullet) at my uncle’s restaurant. It changed my life because I went with him to the fish market to buy the fish and also helped him prepare it. It was in that moment that I knew I wanted to become a chef.
Foodable: Who is one person that you would love to cook for (that you haven’t already)?
KP: It would have to be Al Pacino, my favorite actor of all time.
Foodable: Who is your culinary mentor?
KP: I have two culinary mentors. Wolfgang Puck and his right-hand man, Chef Lee Hefter, my biggest mentor. Chef Lee's ability to get the best out of everyone in the restaurant inspired me. When he was in the restaurant, his presence alone would make everyone do their best, just so we would not let him down.
His extensive knowledge of all the different food regions was always very impressive to me. Everything I learned about this business is because of him, and not just about running a restaurant — most people can do that — but about running a successful restaurant, which is very hard to do.
Foodable: Where is your favorite restaurant to eat at when you aren’t working?
KP: It’s a small restaurant in Studio City called Mantee Café. It is the best Mediterranean food I’ve ever had. My favorite dishes are the Mantee "Traditional" — oven-baked, artisan-made, boat shape ravioli filled with seasoned fresh Angus ground meat, served with fresh garlic yogurt sauce, topped with sumac an red pepper powder — and the Yogurt Kebab — charbroiled, seasoned ground beef topped with fresh garlic yogurt sauce, served with delectable rice pilaf.
Foodable: One ingredient you could not live without?
KP: Salt. To me, making sure everything is perfectly seasoned is the difference between good and great food.
Foodable: What's the most important lesson you learned (good or bad) in your first year of working at a restaurant?
KP: Most important lesson I learned working in a restaurant is consistency. You have to be consistent in everything that you do.