With charm and wit on and off screen, and a flair for flavors to boot, Chris Crary has been winning audiences and diners over with his light California fare at LA hotspots 41 Ocean, Whist at Viceroy Hotel, and Jack’s La Jolla. Opening this summer, the next evolution of the HYDE Brand – HYDE Sunset: Kitchen + Cocktails – welcomes the Top Chef Fan Favorite as head chef. We talked to him about this exciting new chapter, and how he will pair food and nightlife together in one delicious package.
We know you were born and raised in a small town in Ohio… From 10 thousand people to almost 4 million is a big change! What do you love about LA?
I love that LA is a melting pot of cultures. There are few places in the world where you can drive three miles and have nine different legitimate cuisines, and find things from other countries that you’ve never experienced before.
Speaking of other countries, you’ve traveled extensively through Thailand. What did you learn about cooking after experiencing so much of their cuisine?
Keep the integrity of the food. Thailand is all about simple, fresh food, respecting what the land gives you. Life is hard, food is what brings everyone together. Enjoy it and have fun.
Well said! Who’s your favorite person to cook with?
My girlfriend, because she loves food as much as I do and always wants to learn new things.
Do you cook a lot for her, or is a perfect date night where you don’t have to cook?
Yes, I cook for her a lot. The perfect date night though would be checking out a new restaurant. It is so inspirational for me to try new things and see what other chefs are doing. Plus, after a nice dinner out I don’t have to do the dishes or clean the kitchen.
Favorite secret ingredient?
It’s hard to narrow it down to one thing. I like to use items that are different and exciting, like venison neck, sweetbreads, bone marrow, and octopus.
Mouth = watering. Let’s talk tools: what kitchen item could you not live without?
My vacuum packaging machine. It is so versatile for marinating, storage, and cooking.
At this point you’ve been on camera quite a bit. Do you still get nervous?
I always get nervous! Mainly when there are no cameras around. I always want my food to be accepted and appreciated. Food is such a matter of “taste” and I always want to please people.
When you’re not in the kitchen, where can you be found?
You can find me at the gym, building something in the backyard, at the flea market or tending to my garden.
We’re so excited to have you moving in to our “house!” What most excites you about heading HYDE Sunset?
I feel like I am more focused than I ever have been on my food. I’m really excited to bring great food and exciting nightlife together. It’s something LA is in desperate need of, a one stop shop for your entire evening.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Thanks Chef!
Join Chef Chris Crary at HYDE Sunset: Kitchen + Cocktails, opening Summer 2014.