Wolfgang Puck gets on television a lot more. Michael Cimarusti gets the street cred. Evan Kleiman has written more cookbooks. Joachim Splichal has like a zillion restaurants to her mere three: Lucques, A.O.C. and Hungry Cat. But Suzanne Goin is Los Angeles food at the moment, exquisitely tasteful, driven by the seasons, ensconced in a restaurant, Lucques, that is so effortlessly stylish that it might have made Jackie Kennedy feel like a schlub.
Long of neck, Pilates-graceful and educated at Brown, Suzanne Goin is who the gamines who crowd around the mulberry stand at the Wednesday Santa Monica farmers market imagine themselves to be: Audrey Hepburns of the range, summoning forth simple dinners of nettle soup, ricotta gnocchi and lamb mechoui for their friends, endlessly elegant Sunday suppers for the families they hope to have, and fruited desserts light enough to feel like no dessert at all. Cooking is hard, unglamorous work that involves many hours rooting around pig carcasses, stinking fish bones and dishwashers who wish you were dead, but Goin seems to glow at the end of a long service, as if she had done a refreshing half hour of yoga rather than a 16-hour shift wrestling vegetables and slabs of cod. And her food tastes good. It’s no wonder she has more sponsorship deals than Kobe Bryant.
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