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5 Questions for Anne Conness

January 07, 2013|By Betty Hallock
  • Anne Conness is chef at Simmzy's and Tin Roof Bistro.
Anne Conness is chef at Simmzy's and Tin Roof Bistro. (Courtesy of Simmzy's )

Anne Conness is executive chef and partner of Simmzy’s and Tin Roof Bistro. The Georgetown University graduate went from working in television to working in kitchens all over L.A.: the Water Grill under Michael Cimarusti, Campanile, Chinois on Main, Saddlepeak Lodge and Alex with Alex Scrimgeour, EM Bistro and Napa Valley Grille. Now Conness brings her take on comfort food, meant to go with lots of craft beer, to Simmzy’s in both Manhattan Beach and Long Beach and Tin Roof Bistro in Manhattan Beach.

What’s coming up next on your menu? We like to take old-school family-supper dishes, such as Frito pie, chili or mac 'n' cheese and put a little spin on them, so they become tamale pie, short rib and chocolate porter chili, and chile verde mac 'n' cheese. Next we are going to take a look at chicken cacciatore — and roast it in our wood-fired pizza oven.

Latest ingredient obsession? Tomatillos! I love their zinginess. When used raw in a sauce, they lend a bright, fresh, “green” flavor; when cooked, they add an earthy sourness to a dish. I'm using them right now in my version of a chili verde sauce — spicy, sour and redolent with cooling cilantro.

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? In our family, it's King Taco on Long Beach Boulevard. Their tacos al pastor are an obsession!

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? I have to have kosher salt and freshly ground pepper right in front of me in shallow containers, so I can season things with my hands rather than through a grinder or mill. That way I know the seasoning is right, and I don't get frustrated when a mill gets stuck or runs out of pepper, which usually happens several times a night during service.

What’s the last non-food-related book you read? “The Mentor Leader” by Tony Dungee.

Simmzy’s, 229 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach, (310) 546-1201, and 5271 E. 2nd St., Long Beach, (562) 439-5590; www.simmzys.com. Tin Roof Bistro, 3500 N. Sepulveda Blvd., No. 100, Manhattan Beach, (310) 939-0900, www.tinroofbistro.com.

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