The King’s Roost is a little hidden D.I.Y. gem in Silver Lake, offering ingredients and tools for cooking projects as well as freshly milled flours and a corner for cooking classes and workshops. Owner Roe Sie is a from-scratch kind of creator who loves sharing his knowledge and passion for grains from local farmers, milling his own flours and baking bread as well as conducting aquaponics and fermentation.
Sie has a background in finance but opened his little emporium in 2014 as a hobby. Since then he has garnered a bit of a niche in the bread baking community as well as a cult following with classes like the “Sourdough Starter Workshop” and “100% Whole Wheat Sourdough.”
“There are some things you simply can’t learn from a video,” Sie tells L.A. Weekly at a recent pasta workshop. “This stuff is tactile, it’s where art meets science. And it’s interactive, so people are coming to us to experience it with others."
Apart from Grist & Toll in Pasadena, the King’s Roost is one of the only places in L.A. to buy fresh flours like rye and semolina. All grains at the Roost are kept in jars, so when a customer wants to buy flour, the grains are milled on-site to order, resulting in a fresh, warm bag of flour. Sie’s goal is to bypass the industrial food system and get people to buy grains straight from farmers and mill them at home.
Other than the bread baking classes, the Roost hosts classes on fermentation and pasta making. I attended a pasta-making workshop led by chef Mary Payne Moran of Traditional Home magazine.
Full disclosure: I felt like a bit of a cheater in the workshop — I used to be the pasta maker at Michael’s restaurant in Santa Monica. But Moran was such a thorough and approachable instructor that even I learned something. Watching her feed her sheet of dough into the pasta cutter and produce semolina noodles was somewhat hypnotizing.
After her initial demonstration, we were released to explore and experiment on the semolina landscape on our own. One of my classmates, Dan Croll, came with girlfriend Ally Weldon in an effort to learn to cook more at home. Friends Courtney Brown, Shanna Kim and Melissa Garcia came in celebration of Kim’s birthday, all of which resulted in a pretty lively classroom.
When it was our turn to use the pasta machines, Kim, Garcia and Brown worked together, attracting passers-by to watch through the big kitchen window as we cut our fettucine.
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“Not only does everyone love pasta but people are realizing that they don’t know how to make anything from scratch anymore,” Brown said. "It's more fun to learn in person from a living breathing human.”
At the end of the evening, Sie sent everyone off with big bags of pasta made with freshly milled semolina straight from the grain — a King’s Roost specialty.
“Oh, we’re opening our own pasta shop after this,” Brown said, filled with DIY joy.
The King’s Roost, 3732 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; (323) 426-9769, kingsroost.com/index.html.