Join Micah Wexler for his second stint at The Residency at UMAMIcatessen in DTLA now through August. Celebrate the contributions of past iconic culinary figures to the culinary arts of today with this rotating series. This Thursday June 6th, pay homage to Marie Antoine Careme with Chef Wexler’s one time tribute menu. Please call for reservations and seatings. 852 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Marie Antoine Careme (1974-1833) – One of the most influential chefs to ever live, Careme’s genius was the spirit behind the movement of Grand Cuisine. Careme first made his name as a pastry chef in Paris. He is credited with inventing the first recipes for meringue, nougat, and croquantes. His pastry architectural pieces were the first of their kind in France, and he became the chef to France’s most elite politicians and members of high society. Careme became equally known for his influence in savory food as well. He invented numerous French sauces, and was the first to categorize all sauces as derivatives of the four French “Mother Sauces.” He died at age 48 in Paris from inhaling too many fumes from the coals which he used to cook.
Maestro Martino (1430-1482) – Known as “The Prince of Cooks” Maestro Martino di Como is one of the great legendary chefs of Italy. His most famous work was a book he wrote with Platina, a well known 15th century philosopher from Lombardy. The book’s name is, De Honesta Voluptade et Valetudine, and it’s considered the most influential book in Italian cookery. Martino first made his name as a Chef in Milan, but then became famous once he moved to Rome to become the Chef in the Vatican in 1462. Martino’s cooking showed influence from Northern, Central, and Southern Italy. He was the first to specifically classify Italian dishes from their origin, such as tripa all romana and triofe alla Genovese amongst many others.
Santi Santamaria (1958-2011) – One of the first chefs to draw widespread culinary attention to Spain, Santi Santamaria was the first Catalan Chef to ever run a 3-Star Michelin Restaurant;Can Fabes. Santamaria is most well known for honoring the purity of the best local Spanish ingredients he could find, and treating them with the utmost respect and skill. In his later years Santamaria was famous for his criticism of Molecular Gastronomy, most notably of famed Spanish Chef Ferran Adria. Santamaria strongly felt that the use of chemicals have no place in the kitchen, as he clearly stated in his book La Cocina al Desunudo. He also owned restaurants in Madrid, Barcelona, Dubai, and Singapore. Santa Maria died of a heart attack in 2011 at his new restaurant Santi in Singapore.
Gilbert Le Coze (1945-1994) – Born on the coast of Brittany France, Gilbert Le Coze first opened Le Bernardinin Paris in 1972. Before his New York rendition became one of the most celebrated restaurants in the world, Gilbert, along with his sister Maguy, opened their original with humble beginnings. Le Coze never had any formal French training of any kind, but always had an intense passion for the fresh fish he grew up eating in Brittany. While Le Coze didn’t know how to make traditional French sauces or classic preparations, he developed a style of cooking fish absolutely perfectly and treating every piece of fish differently. His food was about bringing out the best possible attribute in every fish, with extreme focus and simplicity. While Le Coze is no longer with us, his legacy lives through his 3-star Michelin Restaurant in New York, where legendary Chef Eric Ripert makes sure that Le Coze’s philosophy is behind every dish and “the fish is always the star of the plate.”
Bernard Loiseau (1951-2003) – Loiseau was born in the Auvergne region of France, and was known as being one of the hardest working and most meticulous French chefs to ever live. In 1975, Loiseau and French restaurateur Claude Verger bought the restaurant La Cote d’ Or, and in 1991 the restaurant earned three Michelin
Stars. A fierce traditionalist, Loiseau was not a fan of the sweeping modernization of French cuisine during the late 1990’s, and many felt that he was becoming frustrated with the way it was evolving. By 2000 the chef was in serious debt and was clinically depressed. He shot himself in the head in February 2003, after his restaurant slipped from a 19/20 to a 17/20 in Gault Millau (a French restaurant guide) and rumors that Michelin was going to deduct a star from him. To this day, however, Le Relais Bernard Loiseau is still the owner of three Michelin Stars.
Mansuke Nadaya (1801-1852) – Born in Osaka, Nadaya was the creator of the restaurant Naddaman, which is now a culinary empire boasting over 24 locations in Asia. The restaurant opened as a traditional Osakan restaurant with influences from Nagasaki and China in 1830. At this restaurant is where Kaiseki cuisine was popularized, serving multiple different dishes on one tray. Today not only does he live on through Naddaman restaurants, but his Kaiseki style dining is still one of the most popular styles of eating in Japan.
Jean Luis Palladin (1946-1993) – Jean-Louis Palladin was born in 1946 in the small southwestern French town of Condòm. In 1974, at 28 years old, Jean-Louis Palladin won two Michelin stars for his restaurant Tables Des Cordeliers in Gascony, France. At the time he was the youngest chef to have won two stars. Palladin came to America in 1979 to open Jean-Louis at the Watergate, in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. Unsatisfied with the ingredients available to restaurant kitchens at the time, he learned about the special qualities of Chesapeake blue crab and rockfish, local tomatoes and corn, found farmers to grow fresh herbs and organic vegetables, and encouraged others to raise poultry and meats to his standards. Palladin was constantly on the search for the very best talent. He offered them his product resources, his time, and his friendship. He created a brotherhood among chefs, and truly raised the level of cuisine in America. He died in November 2001 at age 55 from lung cancer.
Sylvia Woods (1926-2012) – Born in South Carolina, Sylvia Woods and her husband moved to New York City in 1944. She was studying to become a beautician while working as a waitress at the popular Johnson’s Luncheonette in Harlem. In 1962, the owner of Johnson’s was looking to sell the restaurant for $20,000.00, and Sylvia had friends and family help her purchase it. Since 1962, Sylvia’s has become the most famous soul food restaurant in America. The Harlem landmark became a hangout for not only locals and families, but also the most famous celebrities and politicians in the world. Woods wrote two influential soul food cookbooks, and has a product line of her own sauces, seasonings, and cornbread mix. Sylvia died at her home in Mount Vernon, NY in 2012.
Chen Kenmin (1912-1990) – “The Father of Chinese Sichuan Cooking in Japan”, Chen Kenmin was a Japanese chef of Chinese origin and the father of Iron Chef Chinese, Chen Kenichi. He moved to Japan in 1952, originally his expertise being traditional Chinese imperial cuisine. In 1958, however, he opened restaurant Shisen Hanten, which specialized in Shanghai-style Sichuan cooking. He is the standard for which all other great Chinese chefs in Japan are compared to.
Julia Child (1912-2004) – Born is Pasadena, California, it can be argued that Julia Child is the most important person to ever pickup a pan in America. She is largely responsible for the popularization of French Cuisine in the US with her many television series including: The French Chef, Julia Child and Company, and Cooking with a Master Chef (amongst many others). She was the first television-cooking star in America, and she paved way for TV personalities such as Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Jacques Pepin, and everybody who has followed. In addition to being such a vibrant television personality, she is equally respected for her skill and technique. Her cookbooks Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 and 2, and The Way to Cook, are considered bibles in any home kitchen, or a reference for any chef.