Inside the L.A. Chef After Party

21

When the last table clears, the cooks head out—to decompress, to eat, to get drunk. Photographer Andrea Bricco followed some of L.A.’s top chefs through one evening’s post-shift adventures in West Hollywood, among them a snack at the Pikey, a private soiree at Gorge, and a chow-down at In-N-Out. Acabar’s Octavio Becerra, the veteran of the bunch, explains why anything is possible once the kitchen is closed—except sleep.

As a chef, your day starts at 10 a.m. and you go nonstop until 1 a.m. At that point you’ve been pumped up on adrenaline for 15 hours straight, and that’s not something you can just shut off. So inevitably the nightly routine becomes about winding down. You really have only an hour before the bars close to get as much booze into you as possible, so between 1 and 4 a.m. you drink hard and fast, talk about service, talk about food, talk shit about each other, and come together in a fellowship of sorts. You don’t realize that it’s something special when you’re going through it, but the camaraderie formed at night is a big part of what brings a crew, a brigade, and a kitchen together. I’m still close with the people I grew up cooking with 30 years ago. Then if you’re lucky, you go home to get four hours of sleep and do it all over again.

Gorge chef Elia Aboumrad with a special guest.  “It’s not about blowing off steam for me—I do that when I cook. It’s about having Fun.”
Gorge chef Elia Aboumrad with a special guest. “It’s not about blowing off steam for me—I do that when I cook. It’s about having Fun.”

Photograph by Andrea Bricco

From left: Hairstylist Sarah Pomfret; Jeremiah Hu, formerly of Short Order; Aboumrad; chef Christian Page, formerly of Short Order; and chef Kris Morningstar of the upcoming Terrine.
From left: Hairstylist Sarah Pomfret; Jeremiah Hu, formerly of Short Order; Aboumrad; chef Christian Page, formerly of Short Order; and chef Kris Morningstar of the upcoming Terrine. “You may have had a great night. You may have had a bad night. Either way, staying out till four in the morning is just what you do,” said Morningstar.

Photograph by Andrea Bricco

Acabar chef Octavio Becerra at the Pikey.  “Nobody makes it long in this business who requires eight hours of sleep. That just doesn’t happen.”
Acabar chef Octavio Becerra at the Pikey. “Nobody makes it long in this business who requires eight hours of sleep. That just doesn’t happen.”

Photograph by Andrea Bricco

Bestia chef Ori Menashe (second from left) with his kitchen crew at In-N-Out Burger
Bestia chef Ori Menashe (second from left) with his kitchen crew at In-N-Out Burger

Photograph by Andrea Bricco

 

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