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5 Questions for Littlefork's Jason Travi

March 11, 2013|By Betty Hallock
  • Jason Travi is executive chef of Littlefork in Hollywood.
Jason Travi is executive chef of Littlefork in Hollywood. (Courtesy of Littlefork )

Jason Travi is the chef-partner of recently opened Littlefork in Hollywood. Travi is a Boston native who came up in some of the city's most notable restaurants, including Spago and Gino Angelini's La Terza. At Fraiche, the Culver City restaurant he co-owned, Travi's rustic Mediterranean dishes struck a chord with L.A. diners. Now he's returned to his roots. Littlefork's all about the flavors of the Atlantic Northeast: crispy oyster sliders, clams casino, homemade chowder and Portuguese mussels with linguica, to name a few dishes.

What's coming up next on your menu? We are getting ready to start using Ipswich clams, one of my favorite foodstuffs from New England. We're still playing around with them.

Latest ingredient obsession? Maple syrup. We buy it direct from a farm in Vermont in 5-gallon batches. We use it in marinades, brines, vinaigrettes and sauces. Right now my favorite use for maple syrup is to steam lobster claws and toss them with maple syrup, orange rind and smoked paprika.

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? For lunch, it's Sycamore Kitchen. We can take our kids there and not worry about them breaking anything. The baked goods are fantastic, and so are the sandwiches. For dinner, it's Lebanese at Sunnin. It reminds me of my grandmother's cooking.

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can't live without, other than your knives? Low-tech would be a fish spatula. It feels like an extension of my hand. High-tech would be our Cookshack smoker. We smoke a lot at Littlefork: brisket, pork belly, fish as well as vegetables and nuts. An amazing piece of equipment [and] a lot of fun to use.

The last cookbook you read and what inspired you to pick it up? Jasper White's "Cooking From New England." He is a major influence on what we do at Littlefork. The book is 20 years old and way ahead of its time. He was speaking of regionality and supporting local farmers back then.

Littlefork, 1600 Wilcox Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 465-3675, www.littleforkla.com.

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