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5 Questions for Bryant Wigger

November 19, 2012|By Jenn Harris
  • Chef Bryant Wigger.
Chef Bryant Wigger. (Frank Noack )

Bryant Wigger is the executive chef at Trattoria Neapolis in Pasadena. The former Beverly Hills Four Seasons sous chef's southern Italian menu highlights his love of curing meats. And when he's not in the restaurant's built-in salumi case, diners can catch him tossing a pizza into the kitchen's 7,000-pound wood-fueled oven. New at Trattoria Neapolis are late-night weekends starting at 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday with a late menu, music, cocktails and a classic 1930s burlesque dancer.

What's coming up next on your menu? I am working on a new lunch menu, including entrée salads that will be seasonal and use local ingredients. Currently, I am working on a Caesar salad using avocado and lemon for the vinaigrette, as well as kale, romaine and County Line Farm freckled radicchio with polenta croutons.

Latest ingredient obsession? Guanciale -- I have 40 pounds of guanciale curing right now. I am using it in my pesce with heirloom cannellini beans and braised escarole.  It also makes my spaghetti amatriciana taste so much better.

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? Daikokuya. They are open 'til midnight, and the ramen is awesome along with the salad. It is a great late-night snack with inexpensive beer.

The last cookbook you read - and what inspired you to pick it up? "Salumi" by Michael Ruhlman.... I find that curing meat actually helps me to release stress. It takes a lot of time and patience, but tasting the final product makes it all worthwhile.

Your favorite day off away from the kitchen is ... Going to the beach, surfing and having a bonfire. We meet up with friends -- I provide the food and they provide everything else.

Trattoria Neapolis, 336 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, (626) 792-3000, www.trattorianeapolis.com.

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