Katsuya by Starck has earned a reputation for unparalleled Japanese sushi and imaginative, upscale dishes that incorporate local ingredients. With Chef David Lespron at the helm of Katsuya Hollywood, all the covetable classics are on offer, with an additional Lespron-curated NEW MENU that uses seasonal standouts like watercress and asparagus. Since Chef David regularly hand picks these ingredients from markets around LA, we tagged along with him to find out more about his farm-fresh ethos.
Where do you typically buy local produce?
Santa Monica Farmers Market and the Hollywood Farmers Market
What questions should we ask to find the freshest products?
Ask the vendors what is best that day and what is going to be good this season
What fruits/vegetables/herbs are in season right now?
Royal Rainier cherries are coming in beautifully. Jumbo asparagus is great, cilantro flowers and arugula flowers are coming into season and they have a great flavor.
What inspires you more, an idea of a full meal or a single ingredient that you can build from?
That depends on the season. In the colder months I think of a feeling, like comfort so I’m thinking full meal and what that looks like. In the warmer months, I’ll obsess over a single ingredient and build around it for fun.
What was the creative process for this new menu?
Lots of sitting and talking about dishes and ideas. Lots of testing. Lots of tasting. Lots of drinking. Notes for days. Then getting up the next day and doing it over and over until it was finished
How would you describe your presence in the kitchen?
I like to build a positive culture in the kitchen. I like to create an environment that’s fair and a fun place to work. I only want people in my kitchen who are dedicated to the craft. My presence is a “believe or leave,” kind of attitude.
What is your favorite meal to order when you dine out?
I usually go with the Chef’s recommendations.