I am a great admirer of the chefs
that came before me. I found them incredibly
inspirational. I’d like to feel I’m the next link in the
chain from their legacy and my job is to pass on knowledge
and information and work to create the next generation and
keep the chain going on. That’s very important.”
December 2018/January 2019 71
SBA: You recently mentioned the appeal of
cooking two nights a week for a handful of
people on a tropical island as your “retirement.”
Were you kidding?
DK: I was absolutely not joking around.
SBA: So explain what this perfect life would
DK: I’m a fan of islands. They’re something
I have a lot of attraction to. I like the idea
of being close to the water, swimming in
the ocean every day, not wearing a shirt, not
wearing shoes. Being on the water, either
sailing or surfing. That’s all a dreamlike
situation for me. I love cooking dinner for
myself and for friends, at home. I cook on
my days off. I get great pleasure in that.
When I dream, that’s what I dream about.
My life is complicated. My business is
complicated so I dream of a simple life.
When you’re on an island, that island
becomes your universe. The simpler the
island, the simpler your universe is, and I
find that very appealing.
SBA: If you wanted to do that, you could,
DK: Yeah. I think so. Why not?
SBA: What food-related things get you particularly
excited these days?
DK: I’m fascinated by the world of fruit right
now. All the diverse fruit, particularly exotic
fruit. I’m a big fan of all things citrus. We’re
doing a lot of fermentation at the restaurant,
which we really enjoy, and we’re finding it
adds the next level of flavor to the dishes
that we’re doing. We’re cooking with a lot
less fat than we ever have been. I find that
health and nutrition have become much
more in the forefront, and so that plays a
role when we create dishes.
SBA: You’ve been called a “chef’s chef,” having
hired and mentored many young cooks
who have gone on to launch stellar careers—
people like Jeremy Fox, James Syhabout,
Charlie Parker, Kendra Baker, Belinda Leong,
Jessica Largey and many more. In a competitive
place like a professional kitchen, what’s
your view on what your role as a restaurant
owner-chef should be?
DK: We’re all links in a chain. You just have
to understand where your place is in that
chain. I am a great admirer of the chefs that
came before me. I found them incredibly
inspirational. I’d like to feel I’m the next link
in the chain from their legacy and my job is
to pass on knowledge and information and
work to create the next generation and keep
the chain going on. That’s very important. n
Bread; Right: The
Bywater in Los
radish and fruity