One of Los Angeles' most talented French chefs is leaving us. Patrick Jamon, who has been in charge of the kitchen at Les Anges since the restaurant opened on Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica roughly seven years ago (and who has been a partner in the business since new owners took over there last year), has cooked his last meal there.
Jamon is giving up his partnership and moving with his family to Hawaii--where he will become executive chef at the Hawaiian Naneloha resort hotel in Hilo.
"A new group has bought the hotel," he said, "and they want to change everything from A to Z. I'm going to help redesign the dining room and the kitchen, and then try to bring the cuisine of Les Anges to Hawaii."
Jamon hasn't completely given up on L.A, "but Les Anges never really took off, for whatever reasons. I think I will come back to Los Angeles one day, if I have the opportunity to become involved with a successful place. I have a one-year contract at the Naneloha, but if somebody gets serious about me, I will certainly return after that."
Meanwhile, he continued, "My people at Les Anges are well-trained, so they should be able to continue along well without me in the kitchen."
BOONVILLE II--THEY'RE BACK, AND THIS TIME THEY'RE COOKING: Vernon and Charlene Rollins left their idyllic and highly acclaimed New Boonville Hotel in the Alexander Valley town of Boonville under cover of darkness and in a hail of accusations last year, leaving behind disgruntled employees, disappointed investors and the handsome old hotel itself (in which the guest rooms, incidentally, had never been opened to the public).
They were next seen in central France, associated with a hotel-restaurant there. Now they've returned to the States--running the kitchen at (but not involved financially with) the Longfellow Cafe in a book shop in Mt. Vernon, Wash., an hour or so north of Seattle. "The food we're cooking is mostly simple grilled food," Vernon told me when I spoke to him recently, "using lots of Northwestern products."
Meanwhile, a small restaurant group in the Alexander Valley is dickering to buy the New Boonville. Details won't be available until a deal is signed. Watch this space.
As for the disgruntled employees: Tom Cronquist, former headwaiter at the New Boonville Hotel, says he is still owed $18,000 in back pay. He says he has notified the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for Mendocino County that the Rollinses are back in the country, but has not heard whether the case is still open or whether they intend to pursue it.
BUMPER CROPPER: Bumper stickers are forever, or at least for as long as it takes you to scrape the things off with a single-edged razor blade without damaging your chrome.
Thus, we'll probably be seeing this one around for awhile (though not very often, I hope): "FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS EAT MEAT." Like it? The guy on the dusty little Toyota who passed me the other day on Pacific Coast Highway proudly displaying it obviously did.
I'd like to meet one of his friends, actually. Maybe I could sell them a bumper sticker of my own, one that says something like "FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS PUT JERKY, DESPOTIC BUMPER STICKERS ON THEIR CARS."
THANKSGIVING, BUT NO THANKS: Thursday, as perhaps you may have noticed, is Thanksgiving. You might also have noticed the absence in this column of any news of Thanksgiving dinners at the restaurants of our community.
Suffice to say that, if you don't have a family gathering planned on Thanksgiving and haven't been invited to give thanks at anybody else's place, you should probably call your favorite restaurant, which will quite probably be doing something or other that you can still get in on.
WHAT'S GOING ON: Su Su Sushi Hakata Restaurant in Santa Monica offers sake for $1.50 a bottle by way of celebrating a "Sake Festival" through the end of this month. . . . Jean Banchet of the famous Le Francais in Wheeling, Ill., teaches cooking classes Dec. 4-6 at the Grand Champions Resort in Indian Wells. Jonathan Waxman of Jams, Bud's and Hulot's in New York (and Jams in London) does the same on Dec. 11-13. . . . A benefit art exhibition and cocktail party (with good things to eat) will be held on Sunday, Dec. 6, from 4-7 p.m. at the Seventh Street Bistro, downtown. Tickets are $40 apiece and proceeds go to the Exceptional Children's Foundation. . . . Emilio's in Hollywood is featuring white truffles this month, on papardelle al tartufo bianco and in other guises. . . . And Bouzy Rouge in Newport Beach, which always seems to have something or other special going on, presents an "Epic Greek Feast" on Nov. 30, a "Christmas in Martinque" evening on Dec. 7, and all sorts of other affairs later on.