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5 Questions for Whitney Flood

January 28, 2013|By Betty Hallock
  • Whitney Flood is chef-owner of new restaurant Muddy Leek in Culver City.
Whitney Flood is chef-owner of new restaurant Muddy Leek in Culver City. (Courtesy of Muddy Leek )

Whitney Flood is chef and proprietor of new Culver City restaurant Muddy Leek. After working in restaurants in New York and Big Sur, he and his wife, Julie Retzlaff, started Bon Mélange Catering in Los Angeles -- known for its farm-to-table focus and Flood's affinity for unusual pairings and game meats -- for events including weddings and underground pop-up dinners. Now the two together run Muddy Leek, the name an ode to the seasonal ingredients on their market-driven menu.

What’s coming up next on your menu? Artichokes are popping into season, I like to make a goat cheese soufflé and stuff it into the artichoke -- people usually dig it, especially when I add some winter black truffles to it! Also the radishes are so fresh and spicy right now, we have been making different fermented condiments with them, especially the beautiful watermelon radishes from Weiser Farms!

Latest ingredient obsession? Green garlic -- it has such a mild garlic flavor and a whole lot of earthiness, it reminds me that spring is just around the corner.

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? Sugarfish -- I love sushi, the rice is so airy and the perfect temperature, the fish is ice cold and creamy. I just go and get the tasting menu -- usually don’t even use the soy sauce. I also like Tar and Roses in Santa Monica, great service, we sit the bar and order the small plates on the menu.

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? My pepper mills -- I have them all stocked up with different spices -- fennel, coriander, cumin, white and black pepper, I love to fresh crack them when seasoning.

The last cookbook you read – and what inspired you to pick it up? Mugaritz -- I love Andoni Luis Anduriz' approach, though it is not the style that I was trained or follow. His sourcing of ingredients and true love for the land and sea and what it has to offer is inspiring. 

Muddy Leek, 8631 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-2281,www.muddyleek.com.

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