It’s the season of restaurant shakeups. In a move that could be as jolting to the L.A. dining scene as any restaurant closure, chefs Daniel Mattern and Roxana Jullapat are leaving Cooks County. In a text message to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the news, pastry chef Jullapat said that both she and Mattern “have creative projects we want to pursue with different partners” and “look forward to making an announcement early next year.”
Fans of Mattern’s seasonal, produce-driven dishes, his fried chicken, and Jullapat’s desserts are no doubt reading a lot into the pastry chef’s statement and hoping for one or more ventures from this power couple.
Los Angeles magazine critic Patric Kuh named Cooks County the No. 1 Best New Restaurant of 2012.
Finding inspiration in the tight swirl of cabbage, the dimple of a carrot, and the fuzz of a peach, chef Daniel Mattern has an almost euphoric appreciation for what the soil can give forth. He and his partner, pastry chef Roxana Jullapat, worked at Campanile and Lucques before teaming up with Barbrix owners Claudio and Adria Blotta to create this barnyard-spare space, where veggies are as much the stars as heritage breeds or line-caught fish. Poised at the stove in an open kitchen fronted by a row of antique metal tractor seats, he’s a chef of rigorous restraint. In place of affect he strives for a deceptive simplicity, bringing out the goodness inherent in the vegetable. There’s never one ingredient too many, and that takes mastery.
The critic also praised Jullapat’s work:
Jullapat manifests the same understated control in her desserts, like when she jazzes up layers of coconut sponge cake, lemon curd, and Devonshire cream with Ruby Red grapefruit segments.
Trevor Rocco, formerly of Grindhouse and Red Hill, takes over the kitchen at Cooks County, where he will be changing the menu.
Cook’s County, 8009 Beverly Blvd., 323-653-8009