Q & A With David Myers: Business As Usual At Sona + Myers' Worst Meal Ever
David Myers' empire (Sona, comme Ça, Pizzeria Ortica) may have been recalibrated recently, with both the original Boule across La Cienega Boulevard from Sona and a second Boule in Beverly Hills closing earlier this year and, recently, rumors of changes at Sona. But Myers, an Ohio native who trained with Charlie Trotter in Chicago before moving to LA in 1998 to work at Patina, says that Sona, which he opened in 2002, isn't going anywhere. The management company has changed, from FoodArt Group to David Myers Group, but neither the restaurant nor its staff is any different from before the restructuring.
"Sona is indeed open," says Myers. "Please come by and see us soon." The man's from the Midwest; enough said. Meanwhile Myers' team continues baking in their 10,000-square-foot Culver City facility. A second comme Ça is set to open the South Coast Plaza sometime in the future. And as for a second Pizzeria Ortica in Los Angeles, they're still looking for the right space.
We caught up with Myers the other day to ask him a few questions (after the jump). And tune in tomorrow for a pumpkin crème brulée recipe. If you'd rather eat it at Sona, you can always swing by the restaurant, where it's on the menu. Of course if you go today and the doors are shuttered, don't freak out. It's Monday. They're always closed on Mondays. Myers needs to go surfing sometime.
Squid Ink: What's the worst dish you ever ate?
David Myers: In Kyoto, I was at a restaurant where the chef specialized in cooking with local weeds and greens. He did a dish of the innards of river fish, rice, and a special herb. It was horrible. Even a shot of sake and a glass of beer didn' remove the taste.
SI: What's your favorite ingredient to cook with?
SI: What's your first culinary memory?
DM: Fresh corn from the garden.
SI: Who was the most influential person on your cooking life?
DM: My grandmother from a personal side, and chefs Charlie Trotter and Daniel Boulud on the professional side.
SI: What's one thing you wish people knew/realized about cooking?
DM: All ingredients are not the same.
SI: What's your favorite cookbook?
DM: Currently my favorite book is Aji no Kaze, which means "windborne flavors". It's a Japanese book about cooking, nature and life.
SI: Who, in your opinion, is the most interesting chef working in LA today and why?
DM: I like what Travis Lett of Gjelina [on Abbot Kinney in Venice] is doing. Very soulful.
SI: You're from Cincinnati, and worked with Charlie Trotter in Chicago before moving to LA. What's the biggest difference between the Midwest and LA, food-wise?
DM: Meat and potatoes (for the winters) vs. a global ingredient ingredient perspective. But I will say that there is good cooking and talent everywhere.
SI: What's your favorite music to cook to?
DM: It depends. Some days, classical. Some days jazz. Some days all I want to hear is Radiohead and very loud.
SI: What's the best dish you ever cooked and when and where was it?
DM: You know, I have no idea. I do know that I love cooking for friends at home and keeping it as simple as possible. In the restaurant, I know if I like a dish but can't say it was the best ever.
SI: One ingredient or technique you wish would go away?
DM: I don't think about it like that. If I like it I use it; if I don't, I don't.
SI: One thing you Will Not Eat ever?
DM: I haven't found it yet.
SI: If you could open any kind of restaurant anywhere in the world, what would it be and where?
DM: A 12 seat bar where Kuniko and Ramon (my chefs at Sona) and I cooked for those 12 guests. It could be in LA for 1 month, then Tokyo, Kyoto, Shanghai and so on. You get the idea. Oh, and it does need to have a few stops in places where there are good waves.
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