A Look into the Allure of Underground Dining with Starry Kitchen's Nguyen Tran

Pop-up restaurants have recently begun appearing in more and more cities, offering chefs a venue to explore cooking dishes outside of their own restaurant or to test culinary concepts that may one day be transferred into a brick and mortar.

Yet another restaurant concept has also been been making headlines: underground dining. These illegal restaurants operate without proper licensing and are often times run in personal homes or other non-zoned locations.  

One of the best known underground restaurants was Los Angeles’ Starry Kitchen, run and operated by Nguyen Tran and wife Thi Tran. Thi and Nguyen pursued cooking as a pastime, posting a number of photos of their dishes to Facebook before food photography became en-vogue. After Thi lost her job, the two were encouraged by their friends to give their cooking a go and the duo got together and opened an illegal restaurant in their tiny apartment. With just a few folding tables on the patio and a donation box at the front, the first few dinners were comprised mostly of friends of the Trans, however down the road, they began leaving flyers in neighboring apartments and news about their tiny restaurant began to spread.

Learn more about Starry Kitchen here

Chef Phillip Frankland Lee Talks the Power of Plating and Presentation

In today’s world, diners enjoy their meals as much with their eyes as they do with their mouths. And more importantly still, these same diners judge a restaurant by the images it presents on a variety of social media platforms of the dishes it serves.

Chef Phillip Frankland Lee of Los Angeles’ Scratch Kitchen explains that at his own restaurant, “we make sure that when we post images of our dishes to social media, we don’t use any filters. We want to guarantee that what diners see is what they get—an authentic experience to the one they see online.”

”Good photos may entice guests,” Lee furthers. “But if it doesn’t deliver on taste, they won’t be back.” Read More

Foodable Network Sits Down with Chef Ted Hopson of LA's The Bellwether

Chef Ted Hopson  | JetSet Times

Chef Ted Hopson | JetSet Times

Chef Ted Hopson, of the newly opened The Bellwether in Studio City, began his culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, but his foray into kitchens began much earlier than that. Growing up in an Italian family, Hopson recalls how food was apart of his upbringing and as such, has always been ingrained into his everyday life.

Hopson's newest concept, The Bellwether, recently opened in Studio City with the goal of showcasing the abundance of California produce as well as highlight the local farmers and purveyors who provide the restaurant with their fresh ingredients. The chef's market-inspired menu has already won over local residents as well as made headlines, including being dubbed one of Los Angeles Magazine's Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2015.    

Read on as we ask the chef six quick questions here.

FoodableTV Chats with Courtney Cowan of LA's Milk Jar Cookies

Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, Courtney Cowan and her husband Adam Tiller opened Milk Jar Cookies in April of 2013, focusing on a number of unique cookie flavors with 14 different revolving flavors featured at the shop such as banana split and chocolate pecan caramel. Cowan is also hoping to soon begin serving locally-sourced fresh milk and Handsome Coffee beverages.

Milk Jar Cookies has also since built a thriving online community to drive sales that includes a “Cookie of the Month Club” that launched last year. “Online shopping is clearly becoming one of the favorite ways for people to shop,” Cowan told reporters at Miracle Mile LA. “We’re very proud of the user-friendly nature of our website.”

Read more as we ask the chef six quick questions, discover the first meal that changed her life and learn the one ingredient she couldn’t live without.

FoodableTV Sits Down With Stephane Bombet of Bombet Hospitality Group

Stephane Bombet  | Allison Levine for Foodable WebTV Network

Stephane Bombet | Allison Levine for Foodable WebTV Network

Restaurants in Los Angeles have been opening at an alarming rate. One of the people responsible for this is Stephane Bombet. Since 2010, Bombet has been behind some of L.A.’s most talked about restaurants, including Picca, Mo-Chica, Paiche, Faith & Flower, Terrine, Viviane, and Hanjip.

During his eight year break, Bombet noticed that L.A. was a city full of well-educated, well-traveled people with disposable income who enjoyed food and wine. There were only a handful of chefs of name in Los Angeles at the time, and Bombet felt it was a good time to open a restaurant. He was looking for a French chef, but was introduced to Chef Ricardo Zarate, who was behind Mo-Chica. Intrigued by his Peruvian cuisine, Bombet began working with Zarate to help bring his food into the city, and found the location that would become Picca. Read More