Even seven years into its tenure in the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, the Bazaar by José Andrés is still serving some of the most theatrical food in Los Angeles, from those famous Philly cheesesteak puffs to a foie gras floating-island soup. We wondered what tools were necessary in such a creative kitchen, so we caught up with chef de cuisine Holly Jivin.
Jivin, a Southerner by birth, was brought to L.A. by Michael Voltaggio for a position in the Bazaar's kitchen when it opened. In the intervening years she's worked her way up from cook to sous chef to head chef of SAAM, the intimate chef’s tasting room located in the Bazaar, to her current position of chef de cuisine of Bazaar. It turns out that a massive operation and highly inventive cooking requires a lot of high-tech equipment, and quite a few things that aren't high-tech at all.
8. Paper Mate mechanical pencils: “I have a small addiction to Paper Mate mechanical pencils. I have one in my apron every day of work and a backup stash in my office — I always have one handy. I tend to write down ideas and recipes that have the potential of changing on a regular basis, so I like being able to erase and rewrite as I go along.”
7. Joyce Chen scissors: “These are great for the simplest task such as cutting tape, but I also love them for cutting through fish bones and breaking down langoustines, crabs or lobsters.”
6. Coffee! “For chefs, we’re on our feet for the whole day — in constant motion, working a minimum of 10-plus hours per day, micromanaging and co-managing multiple employees and outlets at one time — and coffee is an essential tool.”
5. ISI canister: “It’s amazing how many different things you can achieve with one piece of technology. You can craft your own soda, create the lightest batter, make an espuma, carbonate spheres, inject proteins and even something as simple as make whipped cream.”
4. Offset spatula: “It’s an extension of my right hand. If I ever misplace this spatula, it’ll be like losing my cellphone or keys.”
3. Combi oven: “An amazing piece of machinery that I never want to live without. I can make steamed buns, roast ingredients overnight, sous-vide items, as well as can, smoke and bake — the list goes on. While I truly appreciate the knowledge and experience of a well-trained cook or chef, technology has gone a long way in the kitchen and will continue to surprise us for years to come.”
2. Good olive oil and finishing salt: “I’ve learned to truly appreciate what a drizzle of a great olive oil and the crunch of flaky salt crystals can do to a dish. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t cook at home without properly finishing a dish with these two components.”
1. My staff of cooks and chefs: “I have the pleasure of walking in the door every day with passionate, eager, friendly, intelligent, receptive, talented and die-hard staff members. They’re ready to go to battle every day, get killed on the line and come back for more the next day. I’m blessed to have such an amazing team!”